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security office chief will have a key role to play from the blue house in terms of coordinating a lot of these policies and dialogues, assuming the south korean government goes forward as planned. this brings me to a fifth and final point though that the offensive containment has to be comprehensive. it's not just military means by any means. and we need to go and think i visit about the political economic, social, legal, and other steps, information and particular. that can be taken to produce the kind of paradigm change of talking about overtime. political unity is a good start in terms of as much political jodi within our alliance but also within the region, as possible is a strong start and we ought to be building on that. the informational and social issues though need to be a bigger part of a strategy. because north korea is
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vulnerable to the truth. it's a vulnerable to information, and one can see great opportunity here in different arenas. there are three north korea's maybe. there is the kim family regime in a circle. there's the elite, top, well, under lump of 5% he would say that i think it' is probably les than that. but in any event, it's the group using the one and half million cell phones but it's the group watching the south korean soap operas but it's the group that is becoming the information consumers of north korea who are desperate for more information or salivating, the chairman of google was visiting because they are thinking that the opportunities for their closed system internet. and then there's all the north koreans a sickly, the rest of north korea, most of north korea, where just puncturing the bubble of censure, of censorship
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that exist in north korea with what north korea really spends on defense, what it spends on its missile programs. i've always equated it to the lesson of development including the local aid budget upon the village schoolhouse door so villagers would know if the village elders were stealing the money. that was intended for the schoolhouse. i think we can through basic information in this age that more and more north koreans know about the human rights record. north korean database that's now a permanent growing database now, five, six years running becomes that kind of record that eventually will be impossible to keep out of north korean hands over a period of time, through various means. those are the kinds of things that can create a reform movement, or support for reform when it finally does come, or change when it finally does come in north korea. it doesn't exist now, but you have to try to create that the men and give them, armed them at
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ahead of time. i think economically we need to go beyond the kinds of limited sanctions that was taken so far. we need to go back to the 2002 idea. we need china's support because chinese banks are harboring some of the ill-gotten gains, the illicit gains of north korea. and if china wanted really to put the screws for kim jong-un and his inner circle they could tighten up some of those bank accounts overnight and would send a very quick swift signal that there is a price to be paid for provocation, and if you want to deal with the world as it is, you're going to convoy from this provocation and a different direction, even if you can't open up your country overnight without reform. anyway, we have to remain open to real change. we do need a political exit ramp eventually from this horror story in north korea, not to suggest we're trying to seek rapid regime change. we are not seeking more. we are not seek rapid regime
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change. win a silver light on old measures, but we do have to bring all of these instruments of policy to bear in a more effective strategy. in china, which has to be fitting on a new assessment of north korea. it's north korean ally. on the one hand, they may be saying yes, north korea's nuclear weapons state and always will be now, but on the other hand, they may be saying, north korea threatens china's interests, more than ever. we thought we had unlimited period of time for denuclearization because it didn't threaten our interest as long as we could keep civility, we, chinese. but now i'm hopeful that more chinese are going to say, you know what, i think that assessment was wrong. because we think about a nuclear arms race in northeast asia, when you think about an arms buildup in northeast asia, when you think about the proliferation off the peninsula to iran from what north korea is
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doing, when you think about the steps the train is going to have to undertake to better prepare for defense against the threat to u.s. territory because of this coming capability, i think china is going to say, that's unacceptable. i'm hopeful. but at the end of the day as i say, the united states can't sit there waiting just for china. we have to be working with our allies on a comprehensive strategy, again, trying to let the region know that we want to be that important security guarantor. we also want to be a major trader, investor to the region and with asia-pacific. and for the stability and that trade and investment, and for prosperity and liberty to take root in this entry, any dynamic century with a rising asia pacific, it's going to have to take greater stability than north korea is right now letting it have. so for those initial comments, i will turn it back to our
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chairman. >> well, thank you, patrick the as always, very comprehensive argument. the floor is open. before we open the floor -- [inaudible] >> i want to pick up on patrick's point, and elaborate on what i see as the elephant in the room, which is china. outgoing defense secretary panetta told the house arms services committee last year that china has quote, clearly assisted north korea's ballistic missile program. it was also clear evidence that the chinese nuclear technology found its way into north korean hands the of the a.q. khan network in pakistan.
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through north korea on to syria and iran. written in the past, china is not only a proliferator of wmd materials, and technologies, it is a proliferator of proliferators. stuff gets around the world. in addition, china has been the key protector of jong-un against international sanctions at the u.n. security council, either by blocking or substantially watering down those sanctions. yet, for more than two decades, the prevailing view among western experts has been that china shares our concerns about a nuclear armed north korea. when confronted with the realities that china has consistently protected and enabled the north koreans the bmd program, the fallback
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position has been -- wmd, they do fear north korea nukes but even more they fear collapse of the regime and a flood of refugees across their borders. but what has never plausibly explain, at least to my understanding, is why the north korean regime we choose collapse to simply agree to an infusion of chinese and western aid in exchange for giving up its nuclear program. is the argument being made that the north korean people would rise up and demand we want nukes, forget the food and fuels? there's an alternative explanation for china's behavior, and that is that north korea's deputy in the program, which so unsettles the west, actually serves china's interest. in the following ways. it has enabled china to play the responsible negotiating partner
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of the west in the six-party talks and other international forums. as an indispensable player in those negotiations, this has given china enormous leverage of the west in its own negotiations over human rights, trade, iran, and other issues. the position of the west has always been we can't press china too hard on these issues, because we need them on north korea. it has distracted western attention and diverted resources stretching u.s. forces then in the face of multiple global challenges. it has undermined u.s. counter proliferation's, efforts elsewhere, especially in iran as patrick has pointed out, for which north korea has become an excellent role model. for all those reasons china has benefited from north korea's
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troublesome and dangerous behavior. after almost 20 years of this double game, which i called in a science -- "christian science monitor" article yesterday, the tone young-beijing tuesday. it is surely time for the u.s. to reassess its strategies, not only to north korea, but to a china. i will leave it there for now. >> thank you. hello? >> [inaudible] >> first, a brief word about china. i tend towards joe's view about china's real motives and attitudes towards the north
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korean nuclear and missile programs. when i read in institute for science and national security report and knocked over 2010, david albright organization about the north korean trading company operating for nearly a decade in the business district in beijing, operating to bring to north korea components and technology for the uranium enrichment program, i begin to doubt that china really saw a major stake in limiting the north korean nuclear program, frankly. and i've become rather cynical about it, especially the chinese
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military and chinese international liaison department of becoming his party, and what their real views and policies are. now, that being said, we do know that there are other voices in china that don't like this chinese support for north korea. and i would just make the very simple point, that whatever our strategy is towards north korea, and i fully agree with patrick and the congressman, that we need a new strategy, a nuclearization simply is not enough to hang a strategy on it anymore with north korea. but one of the key audiences is for a new strategy needs to be these moderates in china who do want a change in chinese policy. the doctor for example, who has
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been quoted in the press recently. people like him clearly don't like the level of chinese support for north korea. and that is an audience we need to keep appealing to. we need to try to strengthen their views, and encourage them to up their challenge to the chinese government. with regard to chinese policy towards north korea. a comment on proliferation, and i'm going to focus on what patrick cited as the specific proliferation issue of iran, with regard to north korea. many of you, i am sure, saw the reports coming out of north korea that iranian missile
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experts from the, i believe it's -- company and iran, came to north korea during the summer, and were there helping the north koreans prepare for the december missile launch. a south korean official was quoted as saying, we are disappointed where these iranians are staying. we have cited them leaving their residency and going to the missile site on a daily basis. now, in the past we know that the iranians had observed the previous missile tests and the nuclear tests. they sent observers shortly before these events. this, however, seems to be a different level of iran's involvement in the north koreans
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weapons of mass destruction program. and i take from that, that the north korean stake, or the iranian stake, excuse me, in the north korean nuclear missile programs has escalated their it has moved to a new level. this relationship is no longer a one way street. the one way street in the past has been the flow of north korean technology, north korean technicians and scientists and component parts of missiles to iran, helping the iranians to develop these programs within iran. but now it seems that the iranians are beginning to create
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a more direct role, and participation, in the north korean programs in north korea. that means that iran sees a much more direct stake in what north korea is doing for these programs in north korea itself. and what worries me most about this is that iran may now seek -- now see its relationship with north korea, what north korea is doing with these programs as its track, too. in terms of its goal of acquiring longer range missiles, and ultimately nuclear weapons. in other words, track to meaning that if the containment and
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pressure policies and sanctions of the u.s. and its allies do contain limit or even reverse iran's own programs within iran, north korean programs represent a potential track two for iran to acquire nuclear warheads, or longer range missiles, once north korea begins to produce nuclear warheads and longer range missiles. i suspect, i believe at this juncture they do have a production sharing agreement or arrangement. for the future. i don't know that we can really do anything about this. therefore, i am very pessimistic that we can keep iran now from
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developing, from acquiring nuclear weapons. because i think they have this track two have now related to north korea. this doesn't get talked about very much. all of the information about the iranian missile experts and their work last summer came from the south korean government and from south korea and and japanese sources. the state department, and i'm very critical of the state department about this. the state department has maintained a virtual blackout of information since 2007 about the north korean-iranian relationship. i think the state department has two reasons for this. it has done this in both the bush administration and now in the obama administration. clearly, whatever limits, and i
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think the limits are very severe now on the demilitarized zone dealing with the proliferation question at all, but any prospect of dealing with it i think is nonexistent, as long as the state department maintains this kind of blackout policy and, not only dividing any information about it, but and, frankly, wanted to do with this at all in negotiations with north korea. chris hill took it off the table february agreement. did not mention proliferation. and that's just an example of the situation. so this relationship that north korea has with iran i believe has entered a new and more formidable and threatening stage, frankly, at this point. >> thank you, larry. if there is someone from state
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department. representing the state department right here. okay. the floor is open. anybody can comment to joe's comment, larry's, argument, what not. the floor is open. raise your hand. identify yourself. okay, would you come up? >> [inaudible] >> standby microphone, please. thank you. >> this question is for patrick cronin. you said that the nuclear test was at least partly -- dian rinehart, congressional research. user the nuclear test was at least partly designed to sort of break this possibility of inter-korean under madam president park. but it seems to me that it's
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more of sort of a drawback if anything. and i'm curious to see if you don't how you would explain that, why you would want to sort of throw a wrench in the possible trust policy that she's talked about. you know, what does north korea gain by basically foreclosing any possibility of engagement for the near-term? >> well, if we understood why north korea makes provocations, we would be better off understanding why they would take these actions, antithetical to their interests. the reality i think is that park geun-hye at all ready been using friends to reach out to the north korean government, and to let them know publicly as well that a summit meeting would be asked for in 2013, sometime this year, and clearly she campaigned on the idea of a more balanced
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approach to north korea. that is, as well as having to do with the security threats. but something more measured than the way myung-bak policy because of north korean action. it was a cycle from the very beginning of president leaves administration as she was trying to start off on a different approach. i'm in, i believe that literally kim jong-il are at least his inner circle, i can't tell you what he makes these decisions are somebody else makes these decisions, or the military or the party, but i don't think they wanted anything to do with another summit, a north-south summit this year with kim jong-un. he had a precarious position with china, not withstanding the comments we've heard about chinese sort of de facto support for north korea. i think china has been trying to put more pressure on north
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korea. so he didn't have a strong position with china, and the inner circle wanted to show that he was indeed stable and strong before he ever had to engage diplomatically, before engaged diplomatic the. leading to th the kind of agreements into one. again, his terms may be completely never acceptable, we don't know, but we thought it was a window of opportunity. there certainly was a requirement to test transit after the sudden death of his father. so it makes sense to be reaching out to them. it made sense to even try that moratorium to see whether this kid wanted a slightly different path. not an opening, not surrender, not give up its nuclear programs entirely, that some kind of lived office programs, some kind of new stability he might be able to buy time and both sides could feel each other out. he rejected that last year.
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so is almost a foregone conclusion he was going to keep going down that path. and it seemed obvious after the missile launch in the summer, which was designed before, right before the korean election, that he was clearly going to put a monkey wrench in inter-korean relations, and he's done that he stopped in the korean -- effectively for the time being. and i can tell you exactly why he has done that, but he has done it and now we need to get our south korean allies, the administration and and we need to engage heavily about a new strategy that tries to think about comprehensively how to we look beyond these issues and move it to something that is more stable, more secure and have some long-term vision for transforming it into a positive direction we want to see. which may or may not work simply have to keep pushing. we are not trying all of our avenues. it's a very tough question to answer. >> another question?
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anyone? okay. >> thank you. i am a washington correspondent in south korea. i have a question to patrick cronin. you mentioned the change of north korea and kim jong-un government. you know, a lot of us koreans believe that the only solution to solve the nuclear problem of north korea is about the regime change of kim family. my question is that what is there opinion of united states government, especially state department, for the argument for
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change of kim family? >> well, thank you for the question. yes, i'm not here to represent the government but i'm not sure i can even fairly interpret the governments position on regime change because it's an issue you won't hear the governments talk very often. essentially it's an issue that policy has run away from sense the more sort of strong-minded views in the early part of this century that came from washington that included a much more vigorous women is to accept regime change, what they were seeking regime change or not, who knows. i think though that there's a philosophical question, forget about a policy question, and again i go back to the intellectual work, where anybody when you're trying to talk down, top down, tap down any instability in trying to reverse stability from top down, eventually it blows up.
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the only way to really make your self anti-fragile and secure, whether it's in politics or biology, is from the bottom up. so i think the united states policy in effect supports greater human rights, greater information flow, greater exchanges, greater economic opportunities and openings. it just is not allowed to really pursue the policy because the north korean government. so in effect we are looking for a changed policy in pyongyang. at the current rate and based on a partially here's where history is a guide, on the 60th anniversary of the armistice, i don't think the north korean regime is capable of economic reforms of vietnam our chinese economic reforms even. so they are going to have to have some pressure from bottom
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up to try to bring about the kind of change we need. and again, if that will convince the kim family regime to change, so be it. it doesn't have to lead to a downfall necessarily. that's what we don't have to answer that question as a government or as an alliance or as an international community. i think we can just say, this is what we want to see, and now we're going to find ways to make it happen. if it leads to change, china, it's better than watching all these other nuclear threats grow, proliferate throughout the region, change your cactus, an old caucus is wrong. we need -- calculus. we need to stop this kind of growing nuclearization, this kind of continued human rights abuse policy that has no place in the 21st century when there's so much information flowing around the world but still out of north korea -- still cut out of north korea. >> thank you. >> partly on the theory that if all you have is a hammer,
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everything looks like a nail. something regiment. in your assessment of the role that china might play, how the u.s. might be able to influence china's policy, how much does the sharp deterioration in china's relations with the u.s. are somewhat of its neighbors the last couple of years perhaps change that? doesn't make it hard have the luxury to support north korea? doesn't change where china's interest lies? it has pivoted of course towards asia. >> this is a good question. i go back to the concern that it could be a dichotomy growing in the asia-pacific region between security and economics issues. so if more and more asian countries see united states only as a, providing defense, noting that insurance policy, but china being th their economic future,e lose that game in the long run. ..
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has been going down this path. so i'm not predicting china's changing its assessment. i'm just encouraging them to change the assessment now that they have a new leadership underpinning. i think it important east china sea and south china sea you're talking about go a with the diplomatic framework. the united states is pursuing diplomatic answers, rules based answers from
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confrontations and disagreements. we don't think japan and china will agree the boundaries of east china sea or they will agree tomorrow on these boundaries or china will give up and explain exactly why the nine dash line no longer applies or doesn't apply. that is unrealistic. we hope the countries looking at economic ties and interdepend den sis, will say, but we do want a system in place that allows us to make our disagreements peacefully. something like north korea is of a different order of magnitude. it is a real threat. this is where china, i'm hoping will wake up and say, no, this is different. we understand that we chinese and japanese will not agree on the islands but, north korea's nuclear weapons, nuclear deals -- materials, that trail iran, that bomb, that icbm, that will have real repercussions on the militaries of
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northeast asia and around peace in the world. that has to be something that a rising china, a more affluent china with a greater stake in piece and stability in the world in this century has to see that as a future threat and i'm hoping, again, we have to make this case. i'm not saying it's going to be easy but this is something we should increasingly be trying to make because this is not a zero-sum game with china but is may be a zero-sum game for north korea if it continues to go on this path. >> okay. thank you. do you have something to chip in? >> well, i wish i could be as optimistic as patrick is that that china will come to its senses regarding the north korean threat. after all north korea in recent years have been able to threaten south korea, japan. why is it that china would
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feel more sympathetic to the threat to the united states? it seems to me one could argue that china welcomes the multiplicity of threats to the united states. it helps spread our resources, divert our attention, hasten our potential decline. so i think china sees this in a longer game as they say, we play checkers, they play chess. it is even worse than that. kissinger says they play -- so they see the thing over decades. if they perceive that the north korean threat, the iranian threat, the threats from others, drain the u.s.'s will and, an important factor and our resources, i don't think they're too unhappy with that and i don't see that as being a basis for them to change their policies towards north korea. >> okay.
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larry. >> seems to me there are a couple of things that we can do that might receive a more favorable chinese reaction and i think especially strengthen the hands and perhaps the influence and sentments of the moed rats in -- moderates in china. first, i think we're going to have to immediately reply to it chinese position currently the best way to deal with the missile test of december and the new nuclear test is to return to six-party talks. and the chinese have said this several times now. i think the united states should say to china, we are prepared to return to six-party talks but only on
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the condition that you are prepared to put some very specific proposals on the table. towards denuclearization. that you're going to have to do more than just be a nice host serving wine and coffee and fine chinese food at a six-party meeting. that china must put concrete proposals on the table this time. and we need to know what those proposals are going to be in advance and we will determine whether those proposals are constructive enough to warrant resuming six-party talks. this is what i think our position ought to be with china now and its proposal to resume six-party talks. secondly, in terms of a new
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agenda towards north korea, i think one element of that has to be conditionality now with regard to food aid or any other kind of economic aid, whether it comes from the u.s., south korea, or japan, conditionality for north korean commitments to real economic reforms. and i think we ought to put those proposals in the language of chinese style, economic reforms starting with as a condition for any future food aid chinese-style, xiaoping agricultural reforms and we ought to propose this to the north koreans and make this clear publicly. this i think will to some degree embarass the chinese
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leadership. we're talking about what their predecessors did in china more than they're talking about it, or pressing north korea to do these things. i also think that would appeal to the moderates in china. and strengthen their position. now if the north koreans go ahead and and as i think we all agree with warheading in the near future, then we go back to what patrick i think very accurately talked about, offensive containment. this will involve things that china will not like. but i think, in that context so be it. these things will have to be done. in terms of enhancing deter ants, or to use patrick's phrase, offensive containment. we need to let the chinese know if the north koreans move ahead now with warheading, we are prepared
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to take these steps regardless of whether you like it or not. and this is going to be one of the consequences of your permissive attitudes towards north korea. so i think our messages to china are going to have to be mixed with some positive elements that might encourage them to shift track a little bit towards north korea, strengthen the moderates but also laying out to the chinese that there are going to be consequences that china will not like in terms of how we're going to react to a north korean nuclear warhead capability. >> thank you, larry. now between the pessimist joe and optimist patrick. and then the, larry seems to be somewhere in between. the floor is open.
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milton? >> milton hoenig, international center for terrorism studies. larry, what is your view on the assumption that north korea now already has a compact nuclear warhead for the intermediate range nadong missile? >> this is what david albright recently wrote about in his group and his group believed this for a couple of years. i did a paper that was published in seoul in december of 2011 and i said in that paper that the north korea did have the technology to move quickly to produce a uranium nuclear warhead for the intermediate range nadong missile as soon as they began to produce
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weapons-grade, highly-enriched uranium at this point it has been two years where dr. hecker was shown, what he described as a modern, sophisticated nuclear enrichment facility in pongyang. since then u.s. and south korean officials talked more about their belief and knowledge apparently now that north korea also has other, more hidden uranium enrichment facilities in the country. it's hard to conclude after more than two years now since dr. heckert's visit to that facility that north korea has not enriched-uranium to the point to make it weapons-grade. i think they probably have. and if we find out of course, as patrick talked about,
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that the nuclear test of a few days ago was a uranium test we would have the proof that they are producing highly-enriched weapons-grade uranium. once they have that, highly-enriched weapons-grade uranium, i think give the technology, that they acquired and the actual experience with a -- a.q. khan in producing the uranium nuclear warheads for the aqari missile in pakistan, a rep flick can of the nodong. in fact the originals were nodongs, supplied by north korea. north korea was on the ground floor in all of a.q. khan's work in producing those warheads. they have the technology to move ahead rapidly. to produce warheads for the
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nodong. will they embark on that course immediately after producing highly-enriched uranium? we don't know. i think they will but they may be so obsessed with producing a war ahead first that they can mount on the long-range missile that patrick talked about that can strike the united states, they may have such an obsession to do that first that they may put all of their resources into that and hold back on developing a war ahead for the nodong. i happen to think they probably will move quickly to produce a war ahead for the nodong but there is this other option for them if they are so obsessed with being able to strike the united states first. and that may be the big
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question about where they're going to go from here with their nuclear program. >> thank you, larry. leonard, please. >> thank you. leonard obelander, international liaison, independent. when discussing the diplomatic and the political aspects of the tactics and strategies and elevating that discussion to the policies and aiming at coming up with analysis of the reasons why the actors have been acting as they have with regard to china, to russia, to iran and north korea, the united states, the discussion has been rather precise. i'd like to expand the
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breadth and perhaps the depth of the questions in this discussion to include two organizations that i think play a role in this. one is the shanghai cooperation organization led by china which both india and iran are, observer, observer attendees at the meetings and at their meetings they have come up with policies and responsibilities assigned to the member nations with regard to the future of afghanistan and some other issues. the second is the collective security treaty organization, a military counterpart to nato and russia's lead role in that. i think that if you consider
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these organizations the question arises, why do we have so much trouble figuring out china's motivations and russia's motivations, what are behind their stratdpigs -- strategies because russia and china respectively could in these two organizations lead from behind. and have other member organizations affect outcomes of such talks as the six-party talks and other negotiations. i'd like to hear some more thoughts about sisto and the sco, and their members and how that may make it, a better analysis or more difficult to do the analysis in the subject that we're discussing. thank you. >> okay, thank you, leonard.
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anyone? larry? patrick? joe? >> i know it's going to come out, and counter weight to nato. leonard? >> [inaudible]. >> okay. don't have -- okay. okay. >> this is a very limited reply. you mentioned iran's involvement in this organization and, perhaps that's symbolic of not only does china view north korea as important to it put inchoo also has a stake in iran. iran is of some significant importance to china as well. including not only the bilateral relationship but also iran's influence into
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former soviet central asia, the whole muslim, issue in china. and china's concern about, its muslims in in the province and the ethnic identity that those muslims have with the muslims in the former seven yet central asian republic. so this is important to china. the negative aspect of this with regard to iran however, it just creates another incentive for china to take a passive attitude towards the transportation and communication and financial dealings between north korea and iran. all of which are enabled by chinese passivity. whether you're talking about the air flights between
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tehran and pongyang. whether you're talking about other forms of communication which go across china. i also think that chinese banks are used by these north korean trading companies to facilitate the flow of money from iran to north korea. i'm fairly convinced that chinese banks play a part in that and patrick alluded to the issue of chinese banks. so this is, this makes it an even tougher problem for the united states to, to deal with frankly and i think this organization and china's interest in it kind of symbolizes that. >> thank you, leonard. do you have some of your own answers to your own questions? >> [inaudible].
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>> it seems to me that in discussing some of these issues, it's important to have a thorough analysis. and that means that analysis should include peripheral kinds of influences. and, that one should look for. key events and they're not always what seem to be in the mainstream but key events that can affect analysis. there are also events that seem to be not so important. the back door kinds of activities. sometimes those can explain very much why someone, why a country is taking a certain
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action or a certain position. just one example, if the united states in negative with china, it was earlier stated you have to be more accommodating on some issues than the issue you're negotiating. well, where do some of the pieces of where do some of the parts of the equipment that come from? china has some technology that the u.s. buys. that is a factor. that may be something too specific to give an ends to. i think factors like this
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need to be considered and they are very often not surfaced in discussions and then not considered in analyses. >> thank you, leonard. okay, patrick? >> i think this very important point here, obviously our analysis was very narrowly framed but that is partly panel discussions are oriented toward generalities, not toward a detailed, kind of analytical framework you might see in academ geopolitically, and we can read george friedman and barbara kaplan at stratfor, for instance, china is emerging great power, reemerging great power, wanting to go toward an old silk road and out toward the blue water, sort of navy into the pacific and indian oceans. and so something like the shanghai cooperation organization, sco, provides a political network and framework for reaching inland across eurasia. and that is important.
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it is also though as you suggested, a network for supplies and information and a global market, both elicit and illicit markets. it is hard to comment on i will list sit transacts. they are beneath the radar. that's why we have intelligence agencies watching and talking about these transactions and watching for them. russia is very much trying to cling to major power status and has seemingly played much shorter term roles with a lot of these activities, not wanting to go away. wanting to resurrect if possible but fighting an uphill battle given the fact it is trying to draw down very heavily on its sort of gazprom economy in fueling so much corruption. so russia has a very different game to play here. we would like to see russia play a helpful role, in like providing the ssn-6 missile technology which seems to be the basis for the next missile launch we may see
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out of north korea. so there's no doubt that the globalization, the rising power or trying to keep power in the case of russia is effecting the leadership, decision-making how they think about north korea. let me bring this back to one point with china and the united states relationship. i don't think that china is going to cooperate with north korea just for the sake of north korea issues. that is to say, if they see the united states going in a different direction as jacques suggested rebalancing and supporting japan to be more assert tiff, they may decide, we're not going to cooperate in that with the united states because that is not in our chinese interests. what we're trying to do is convince the chinese we're not against a rising china. we want to see a growing middle class in china. we want to see a prosperous and more free china. and, we, we're not looking to create fights over things like territorial disputes
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but this issue of north korea, we're trying to convince the chinese is a growing military security threat to a rising china which wants a to rise. i go back to lee kwan's basic text and there was selection of his works published last month by the belford center in harvard. gram ellison and put out selections. i use it as a baseline. lee kwan's analysis of china. he has a very easy read. based on his wisdom over the decades and thinking about china and trying to balance the delicate position of asia in a rising china. talking about why it is not zero sum. he talks about china playing a very long game as joe rightly talked about and wanting that peaceful rise to happen and what happens with north korea is that north korea, rather than allowing china's peaceful rise, it's really putting china a difficult position.
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it is hard for china to ignore give the power it has now, the given the wealth it has now, the openness china has now, it is hard to ignore the kind of instability that comes from a young leader defying the world, blowing up nuclear devices, getting ready to create a nuclear icbm. so, you know, even that particular issue does have a lot of political pull, even though you're right, there are geopolitical broader considerings considerations that always go into every decision. >> quick follow-up in response to that. >> earlier theme how you might influence china's position. pushing china on the notion it should favor show ping approach in north korea. there clearly is lot of case for that. one crashed and burned badly with the entrepreneur ho went down to do that, getting nailed on corruption charges. but it is to patrick's last point to get to another
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piece on a way to perhaps sell this to those who might push for a change in north korea policy in china. if you think about people, others who are prominent public intellectuals on this subject, mostly at the school of studies but can question how much influence they have at the moment but the agenda there i think from those people and people in government who share some of their views it is very costly to china to be out of step with world opinion in profound way. the crazier north korea gets in some sense that is an albatross of china's agenda to look like a responsible stakeholder. one can argue how much is window-dressing and how much movement there is but that is an argument that has some traction. i think so too does the argument that china needs to, sort of, you know, take on just, broader response as a stakeholder but also that china has opened itself is as a rising great power
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aspiring super power to, greater tolerance for, if not armed intervention, at least a reduction what had been a chinese position about sort of black box of sovereignty. that is we've seen china a little bit on iran, a lot on sudan. the farther away you get from china's borders easier is but open where there was position any international action purported what countries were doing at home. this is relative easy one because china has fairly embedded foreign policy of not having the u.s. or others dictate to others what their domestic order should look like. when you can frame it in terms of a threat to international security that becomes the more saleable version of at least taking us somewhat harder line. so there are, some small hand holds there. i don't know how far they get you. seems to me that may be somewhat better rhetorical move at least saying you should follow the dong model,
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there is skittishness reform oriented chinese about a reform model. if they export a chinese model of redevelopment what if it doesn't work. there was soft power debate. there was much attraction suggesting china was a better partner for developing countries and a less intrusive one than the u.s., when you got into the more detailed version of a china model said we'll tell you how you should run your system at home they got very, very squirrely for obvious reasons. >> sound like you're also leaning towards optimistic view? >> all a matter of baseline. >> mr. pessimist, joe. >> both patrick and he make excellent points and they're so good that henry kissinger made them in 1994. we've been talking for 20 years how it is in china's
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interest to moderate north korea's behavior but china seems to see china's interest from the way we see china's interest. so hopefully that situation will change but i'm not encouraged by the performance over the last two decades. >> thank you, joe. okay. you know, would you please go to, yeah, microphone, please. thank you. >> i think china is a key player no doubt about it but as larry pointed out so-called the moderate chinese political forces who are emerging, who are growing how do you see this moderate chinese political forces making influence to the new jinping government? whether with traditional
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communist party elite leadership, trying to moderate people as you see or maybe, in the near term or long term? i assume so-called cultural revolution, you know, generation coming up and eventually china will go toward a more democratization process in the long run but do you see it in the trends in china toward more moderate or democratic majority in the near term, or is pessimistic longer term? this is one question. the other one is, iran is -- israel but north korean nuclear arms can not be checked by south korea because i know south korean politics, opposition party -- towards about 4%
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margin or over so-called pro-or sympathetic north korean forces. i don't think the government can hit the north korean bases before it acquires maybe nuclear gun or, forces. i don't know. whether you u.s. can hit the north korean bases before north korea meet the critical stage towards nuclear proliferation in the, for the next stage. that is my question to you. >> thank you. larry? >> if you look at the role of chinese moderates and these are people in the media and in the think tank
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community, and, the universities in china, in has been a pattern in the past in which north korea has done certain negative things and these people have become fairly vocal in criticizing north korea and suggesting that china should begin to reduce support for north korea. when an episode like this has happened in the past, after a certain period of time in which these people, these moderates, so-called moderates express their views, the chinese government then shuts them down for a certain period that can be many months or perhaps a few years. and then you have the pattern resurfacing, which
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north korea commits another negative act. the moderates vocalize their displeasure with north korea but after a certain period of time the chinese government cuts them off, tells them to shut up. i don't know that the chinese government can do this now. can really just turn off this point of view in china any longer. and, that is one i think positive change. it isn't a huge change in terms of overall chinese policy. granted but it is a small positive change that i think we should be cognizant about and keep watching the relationship between the chinese government and these more moderate chinese. >> thank you, larry. okay. >> let me just make one point about, you're talking
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about, the idea of preemptive strikes against north korea. of course in came up when bill perry talked about consideration of a preemi have it strike in 1994 against yongbyon and it has come up from time to time in the future the problem is the north korean artillery threat towards seoul, north korean, artillery pieces and rocket launchers that can destroy the city of seoul in a matter of minutes or a few hours, if the north koreans unleash this weaponry. and they have this kind of deterrence.
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to threaten us and they have had it for a long period of time and we are very, very cognizant about this. another related issue in this connection though is that once north korea mounts nuclear warheads on its missiles, how is, how is that going to affect the retaliation policy? that was established between the united states and south korea in 2010, following the shelling of the young pong island in november of 2010. policy that in the future south korea would have the right to retaliate militarily, if north korea committed future provocations and the u.s.
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would support that kind of retaliation. what is going to happen to the u.s. and the rok attitude towards the retaliation policy once north korea has nuclear war ahead on its missiles and can threaten to rain nuclear missiles down on south korea, if south korea does retaliate? how are we going to react to this kind of scenario? which i think we will face once north korea has warheads on those nodong missiles. so that's another issue i think we'll have to face frankly coming down the pike in terms of the situation we're going to face. >> can i just -- >> patrick, yeah. >> indeed rok and the u.s. are already moving ahead on that. our plan 1515 is all about a
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nuclear north korea. the fact that the korean government is looking ahead to accelerate the deployment of their air and defense missile system in concert with the u.s. and maybe others in the region to be able to shoot down a missile not on the launch pad but trying to protect itself from nuclear icbm or nodong missile, intermediate range missile in the future. there may be no easy preemption angle. there wasn't for the united states back in 1994 either according to secretary perry and others who had to work very hard on that problem. so that's never an easy issue but you need to obviously strengthen your defensive capabilities, taylor and adapt deterrence in other words to a growing threat. >> okay, chuck. >> you also asked the question about the implications of the new chinese leadership. you know, that some level the easy answer it is too early to tell. jinping are transitions are gradual and jinping is newly in the party position i
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think we'll see more formal statements out of the stateside once we get into march and national people's congress and the new team is fully named. not that anybody is in any suspense about the general outline but when you have those government meetings there is more pressure to put out statements on a number about policies in a regular cycle. what we've seen so far, a lot of talk of reform but it is almost all domestic. pushing through with economic reforms that have been relatively stalled. dealing with the corruption problem for the party. now you will of that suggests and appreciation of the need to keep the good times rolling economically and that obviously is long underpinned the peaceful rise kind of strategy international. hu jintao took a lot of flak for being weak in foreign policy. for not standing up enough for china. it is viewed as the 10 lost years of leadership. what does that mean? on the wind hand it suggests it is not the moment perhaps to go soft. on the other hand most of the people who do the chinese equivalent of kremlinology or will do xi
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jinping seems a more formidable individual. owe seems to have the military rid stature with the military security folks and has less fractious top elite than hu jintao did. that suggests that he can do what he and his colleagues is in immediate chinese interest. if they perceive changes in the chinese interest which what we're talking about up here there is probably more capacity to stare the system than i think we've seen in the last few years. >> thank you. jacques. roland? >> hi, roland wilson from the school of conflict analysis and resolution. there has been some great comments today. i think that there is probably no wrong answer that has been given. they're all right in their own respect. mine focuses around the policies towards north korea. we talked about having an offensive containment policy
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which could be termed a short-term policy for the time-being. we had that in the past, if we look back all the way back to the 1970s we allegedly had nuclear weapons on the peninsula and we brought those out allegedly again to convince north korea not to take on nuclear weapons. then later on in the '80s we had the great exercise team spirit. that was a great exercise as a deterrent. we gave that away again as brinkmanship with north korea so they would get rid of nuclear weapons and that didn't happen. so we had this strong containment or strong offensive capability before and we slowly let that slip away, bringing it back i think is good portion of it for the short term to maybe help mold things within north korea. however, we also have to look at long-term policies for north korea and i think you hit on, patrick you hit on a main term there about getting into the north korean people the information and flow out of that. when we talk about bringing down a regime for a regime falling or changing, from
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the top down normally never works as we see some places in the middle east. gets reformed by another regime. from the bottom up, when you talk about social, mobilization, collective action from the people, that is kind of investment that is worth making over the long term because it's the people in north korea that will make change on the government based on their need for food and stability in the region. so, regardless of our stagnation in washington, d.c. how do we do that maybe external to direct lines to the government and the government lines with north korea? that would be the question i have. and one thing on conditionality with aid with north korea, i think that's wrong from my perspective. when you put conditions on things in the asian perspective, you know, with their, the difference in policies, difference how they think with the deference and the difference between collective societies and like the ones we have in the united states they look
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at things very differently. in as digs when we tie aid which is humanitarian in nature as a stick, policy, are we not in turn doing something almost in the same terms of hurting the north korean people or the humanitarian needs of the north korean people as well so? >> thank you. pat, joe? chuck? anyone from the floor? sure. >> okay, pat. i want to three to amplify some ideas using information. it is easier to talk about in general than it is to give specific examples. and also we're not trying to excite other countries in the region like china we're trying to encourage to change their stripes. from thinking that we're looking for regime change but the reality is we do need a bottom up change in north korea in the long run.
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and, you know, radio is one of the means. information technology coming through thumb drives, dvd's, disks, it is reaching at least 5% elite. they talked about in detail having to reach the middle of north korea in terms of such a thing in terms of labor, creating markets. we've seen this trying to create markets in north korea. the problem is north korea put up lots of obstacles to try to prevent all of these things. but there is at least recently a growing sense of pressure, it seems, from, the economist recent article in the conn mist, the cover story that things are epseeing through the bamboo curtain as it put it, right? there is a push at least from the elite in north korea for becoming information consumers. they're addicted to the south korean soap operas. that doesn't sound like getting us to democratic reform and peace and stability in our time but it's a start. it is starting to say even
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in their propaganda, the outrage just propaganda that the chairman talked about where they had to show the manhattan sort of skyline, even, there is propaganda purpose even in that in a sense of saying, you know, is that really your aim in life, north korea? is to be able to put a nuclear missile on economic prosperity and freedom? i don't think so. i think we can ultimately get information. obviously, the gulags in north korea the darker side of this. letting information flow into this country about the oppression that exists. fewer people are being killed according to the latest database. that's good news but there are more and more cases of liberty being taken away and censorship. getting that information in deeper into north korea, over china's borders, over the airwaves. through information, through exchanges, i think will force north korea to enter this century eventually. . .
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>> it's a very mixed record because it's a bribe to the north korean regime at a big level. there's too much price going to the regime of untethered money. but the good side of it has been south koreans have related to me many, many times that it's really changed the hearts of minds, if you will, of the people who work there and their families. that top 5% of north korea than the bottom 95%, but with cell phones entering the country, they've got to talk about
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something, so talking about the latest soap or talking about, hey, did you hear about this gulag or did you hear about this escape, and this is another question, just one last point on the diaspora. the north korean refugees, we ought to be pressuring china. in this would be a test case, you know, joe, for testing china's intentions. we ought to be going to the united nations and pressing china to accept a refugee camp under u.n. us auspices inside china. if they want to support the international community, let's test it. that could be another answer. thank you. >> okay, hold on, quickly. >> [inaudible] during the height of the cold war -- [inaudible] helped mold the change of the
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soviet union. so i think -- [inaudible] other things are possible. >> i agree. and i've read an article just recently about how europe, for instance, can play a significant role. we're hamstrung. washington is not going to let up on the administration, say go do what you want with north korea. so canada, europe, other asian country, they're on the front lines of engaging in these educational edges change programs both -- exchange programs, both governmental, nongovernmental, ngo programs, we ought to be working with them, mobile eyeing, support ling them even though we know a lot of them are going to be corrupted by the north korean government. go hack into the united states defense department. we know that. so you've got to be careful about what you're choosing to support. but that information will transform north korea over time. >> well, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. now we are ten minutes behind. jacques has been so generous and patient, and now, jacques, it's all yours.
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>> a number of protesters interrupted a politico discussion this morning at the newseum here many washington on the impact of the sequester that goes into effect march 1st and alternative ideas. speaking at the event were former white house chief of staff erskine bowles and former senator alan simpson who have issued recommended budget cuts. here's a look. >> mr. bowles, you have -- [inaudible] on your tie. why is that? [laughter] >> i think -- >> excuse me, mr. simpson, mr. bowles, on behalf of america, land of the free, home of the brave, by the people for the people -- [inaudible conversations] america wants to know how do can you entertain the fact that you want to cut -- [inaudible conversations] >> you need to leave.
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sir, please -- [inaudible conversations] america wants to know! pay your fair taxes! pay your fair taxes! pay your fair tax share! pay your fair tax shares! >> put out a blueprint for how to get something done. this is a practical document. simpson-bowles back in 2010 was sort of what you would like to have done. what you think could be done picking up for the speaker, the president left off, and there were two pieces of news in it. one is that this is getting a lot more expensive, it will cost about $5 trillion -- >> i'm a retired civil engineer. i paid into the social security system all my life -- >> okay. we're going to -- we'll bring you into the conversation -- >> the cuts to medicaid, medicare, social security have
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got to stop. we want the corporations to pay their fair tax share -- [inaudible conversations] some cuts don't -- [inaudible] >> okay. >> you wait your turn, we'll take your point. >> pay your fair taxes. some cuts don't heal. >> again, we should probably -- >> some cuts don't -- >> yeah. i agree. we believe if you look at the plan we're putting forward -- >> with my name's -- [inaudible] are you all aware -- >> sir, i'm sorry, you need to leave. >> 12.3 million -- >> they just said they'll address your point. >> sir, we need you to leave. >> pay your fair share of taxes -- [inaudible conversations] >> we really need you to leave. >> we need good jobs now. >> excuse me -- >> we need good jobs, that's all i'm asking. >> sir, please -- >> we need good jobs now. we need good jobs now. pay your taxes.
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we need good jobs now. pay your taxes, we need good jobs now. we need good jobs now. pay your taxes, and we need good jobs now. >> i'm going to address this point. look -- [inaudible conversations] >> if you look at the brand we're putting forward, you know, we call for reforming the tax code, simplifying the code and in a very progressive manner raising additional revenue to reduce the deficit. and if you look at where the tax expenditures are paid, they're generally paid by people in the upper income brackets, and so in a progressive manner it will -- >> you know, that's absolutely not true. we have major corporations, and you're part of that, that are not paying their fair share. we're -- [inaudible conversations] $2 trillion over the last ten years -- >> we need good jobs now. we need good jobs now. [inaudible conversations] >> excuse me -- >> we need good jobs now! we need good jobs now! >> we're really serious about this. >> yeah, so am i i. >> you want to expose the --
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[inaudible conversations] nothing but -- >> all right. the second point i would make is if you look at what we're doing with social security -- >> [inaudible] america needs good jobs -- >> we give people between 80 -- >> president obama spoke out today about the march 1st deadline for automatic, across-the-board spending cuts. the president said that if the $85 billion in immediate cuts known as the sequester occur, the full range of government would feel the effects. among those he listed furloughed fbi agents, reductions in spending for communities to pay police, fire personnel and teachers, and decreased abilities to respond to threats around the world. he said, quote, people will lose their jobs, unquote. now, in response, the top republican in the senate, kentucky's mitch mcconnell, said today's event at the white house proves once again that more than three months after the election president obama still prefers campaign events to common sense bipartisan action. senator mcconnell pointed to
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government overpayments and duplicative government programs, but the sequester requires across-the-board cuts and not specific program cuts unless congress acts. well, coming up at 6:of 30 eastern we will be live with former cia director michael hay depp. he'll talk about how digital technology has transformed intelligence gathering. he's also expected to touch on preventing cyber attacks and threats from terrorists and rogue nations. mr. hayden will be speaking at george washington university. you'll be able to see it live beginning at 6:30 eastern. and with the u.s. senate on break this week, we are featuring some of booktv's weekend programs in prime time here on c-span2. tonight former iraq ask and afghanistan generals. it starts at 8 eastern with retired general stanley mcchrystal and then fred kaplan on retired general david petraeus and also jeffrey engel on a collection of essays on the gulf war. >> the communism of china,
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basis, is communism in name only these day, and it preserved the power of the members of the communist party. but they basically, threw most ideology aside, and it's now become a capitalist haven. you know, communism now in china, they talk at great length of these party congresses about, you know, marxist leninism, etc., but it's all about preserving the party's power economically as the country continues to grow because they threw aside most vestiges of communism years ago. in north korea it's all about preserving the power of the military and the kim dynasty as you have there. and, again, it really has nothing to do with, i think, what karl marx envisioned as commune i feel. someone could -- communism. someone could do a fascinating book how it merged into something different in cambodia, china, north korea than in the eastern european countries.
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that's an absolutely fascinating split that occurred. >> harvard fellow keith richburg on 34 years of reporting and insight from around the world sunday at 8 on c-span's "q&a." up next, state department peace-building adviser david phillips reviews the history of the war in kosovo and recounts america's more recent involvement in iraq and afghanistan. mr. phillips is the author of "liberating kosovo," he also heads columbia university's peace-building program. this is just over an hour. >> the discussion about kosovo is especially relevant today as we think about really key questions of national security; why, how, with whom and what comes after intervention. this weekend it'll be five years since kosovo's independence, our discussion is timely. the kosovo case is illustrative, and i think it can help inform
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the debate in washington and in scholarly circles about current humanitarian emergencies in syria and the security challenges in places like iran, how do we balance competing interests in deciding a way forward which serves human kind and also advances u.s. interests and the greater good at the same time. the nato action in kosovo of 1989 was not something that occurred overnight. it was the culmination of ten years of effort in response to a pattern of human rights abuses and a crackdown by milosevic against pro-democracy forces across the territories of the former yugoslavia. of course, we know a lot about the wars of yugoslavia, we also recall that the conflict there started in kosovo and as there
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were, there was fighting in bosnia and croatia, ultimately, it would return to kosovo. and, thus, the international community's engagement and ultimate military action. at the time i was serving in washington as the president of a group called the congressional human rights foundation, and i happened to be with members of congress in 1988 when martial law was declared. and i saw the yugoslav tanks rolling in. i was also a witness to the ethnic cleansing in croatia and in bosnia during the siege and in share jay slow as an adviser to the presidency on his political talks throughout the war in bosnia. in addition as a senior adviser to the state department during this period, i was also a protagonist of events of efforts to try to prevent milosevic's
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campaigns of ethnic cleansing and aggression. the diplomatic history of u.s. involvement and international national engagement is told on the pages of my most recent book. one of the great fortunes i had during these years was to work with the albanian-american community. they were passionate about kosovo, and they quickly learned how to promote their interests in washington. i remember on the 500-year anniversary of the battle of kosovo i helped congressman tom lantos organize a hearing about kosovo, and there were 30 or 40 buses that came down from new york bringing albanian-americans to the hearing. so there was a long line of people snaking from the rayburn house office building all the way down constitution avenue. i think one of the serbs who came to testify that day said that he knew that kosovo was lost when he saw that sort of
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massive outpouring of emotion on capitol hill. if -- in 1991 as yugoslavia fell apart, the republics were recognized by the international community because there was some ambiguous constitutional status for kosovo. it was not recognized, and it became the sort of forgotten, low-intensity conflict area as ethnic cleansing raged in bosnia. in many ways the president of kosovo who was a pacifist served well milosevic's plan by pursuing a kind of ghandian approach. he allowed milosevic to focus his military assets elsewhere. we know full well that it was a triumph of american diplomacy in dayton that brought an end to the bosnian war. i remember speaking with ambassador holbrooke about
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bosnia, and he said we have to stop one war at a time. he knew full well it would be important to come back to kosovo, but the challenge of dealing with the bosnian conflict was so great and so urgent. in fact, milosevic emerged from dayton as the great peacemaker, and in order to implement dayton, the united states relied on milosevic, so there was really no pressure after the dayton peace agreement for milosevic to accommodate the needs of th albanian community in kosovo. in january of 1996, i led a delegation from the council on foreign relations, ask we met with mr. milosevic -- and we met with mr. milosevic. at the end of the meeting, i asked him if the united states information agency could set up a reading room. you know, he was feeling rather giddy from his new role as a peacemaker, and he sneered to me and the delegation: you americans can build your library wherever you want.
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well, that was actually quite a bug deal, having an american flag flying. it sent a signal to the albanian community that they weren't, in fact, forgotten. but it also kind of played into this approach of dr. rigova of taking a pacifist stance of going slowly and not being too provocative. during these years the u.s. maintained the outer wall of sanctions. this was, essentially, imposed by the international financial institutions, the ifis rather than a full frontal approach through usaid and groups like the national endowment for democracy. there was a rather concerted effort to try to support the pro-democracy forces in serbia so that the best way of dealing with serbia's democratization and the kosovo question in the process would be for there to be a nonviolent regime change at
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ballot box rath or or than through any -- rather than through any kind of military action. there was an extensive outreach to youth groups, to independent media and groups really did extraordinary work during this period. and part of that was supporting opposition political figures both in montenegro and in serbia. opposition to milosevic reached a peak in november of 1996 when milosevic brazenly stole local elections. a group which in serbian means together initiated months of protests in the central square of belgrade. various people came together day after day with thousands of serbs, you know, they would bang pots and pans from their windows and blow whistles. the remarkable thing is that after six months of these popular protests, essentially, nothing had changed, and these protests lost their momentum
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and, essentially, disappeared. during all this time, the albanians were growing increasingly frustrated. they saw how the other republics of yugoslavia had been rewarded through military action, and in late 1996 the kosovo liberation army appeared on the streets at a funeral there. i remember reading a story by chris hedges in "the new york times" about the kosovo liberation army, and i thought it was just, you know, a couple of cousins from the bronx who decided to put on military uniforms and parade around the street. i think initially it really was nothing more than that. but because of the frustration that was building up in the albanian community and the response of the kla as an alternative to the pacifist approach, it increasingly started to gain influence. the u.s. government was rather keen to find out who was the
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kla, and with ambassador holbrooke we would have monthly lunches at bruno's restaurant on east 58th street where we would bring together the albanian-american community. when weren't there one evening, i was told that albanian-americans -- including a very strong group from texas -- showed up, and they put $1.8 million in cash on the table in order to procure weapons for the kla. you know, our meetings were more fact finding. there was one fellow named dino, a member of the diaspora from new york, who was known to be particularly close to the kla. dino subsequently went back to kosovo and became the head person if charge of privatization -- in charge of privatization and rather tragically, a few months ago somebody came into his office with a long knife and chopped his head off. so, you know, dino paid a price for his own contribution to state building in kosovo.
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at the time he made a great contribution to u.s. efforts. because after appealing for the names of the commanders, you know, he approached me after one of these meetings and literally on a scrap of paper there were three albanian names written and phone numbers, cell numbers about how to contact them. so this is how the u.s. government made contact with the kla. and this initiated a process of reaching out and trying to find some kind of a negotiated solution with them. on the 5th of march in 1998, the clan of tesheri was overrun by yugoslav security forces. and the more there was a crackdown against ethnic albanians, the more that served as a recruiting tool for the liberation army. of course, there's a parallel effort to bolster rigova. holbrooke brokered a
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face-to-face meeting between him and milosevic. nothing came of that meeting because of expectations that arose around the educational accord were never fulfilled. these meetings, actually, had the adverse impact of further delegitimizing the pacifist approach. part of the attempt to bolster rigova was to bring him to washington, and on the 28th of may, 1998, there was a white house meeting with president clinton and sandy beggar. just -- berger. just as they were about to go into berger's office, they received word of a major counteroffensive that had been launched by yugoslav armed forces, by serbian armed forces which during that spring and summer displaced 200,000 people. with winter approaching, early winter in kosovo that year, tony blair gave an impassioned speech to the security council calling for action. as a follow-up to that on the 24th of september, fay toe
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approved -- nato approved an activation warning, and one week later it approved an activation request which is the next step in forced generation for nato military action. on the 10th of october at the business lounge of heathrow airport, holbrooke met with the contact group. this was an informal body of diplomats from the u.s., the u.k., france, italy, russia and germany. and with foreign minister igor ivanov's endorsement, nato issued an activation order which is one step short of combat, of authorizing combat operations. with that act in hand, milosevic went to belgrade -- excuse me, holbrooke went to belgrade to see milosevic and with a credible threat of force basically told him in one hand i have surveillance planes, in the other hand i have f-16s.
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it's entirely your choice whether you want to be attacked or allow international monitoring and a staged withdrawal of serbia's security presence. in fact, milosevic recognized that this was a credible threat, and he agreed to a ceasefire, a partial pullback. nato access to serbian air space, humanitarian access and the return of idps. fairly typical concessions by a tyrant when it comes to trying to avoid military action. to follow up that meeting, the u.n. security council issued resolution 1203. you may remember these events, michael, i think you were at the u.n. at the time. and that resolution authorized the osce to deploy an observer mission of 2,000 international monitors. the question was how do you stand up those monitors, essentially, from a dead stop and get them into the field as quickly as possible. i knew the nypd commissioner at the time, and even though they
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didn't have a database of officers by ethnicity, they did organize them by language. and we found there were 56 new york cops who spoke albanian. so again at bruno's, you know, the commissioner invited them to come to lunch and, you know, we presented to them the need for international forces to go as part of this verification mission. and this was a very tough lunch. not only were they new yorkers, they were albanians, and they were cops, and they had incredible jobs on the force, you know, undercover, narc, you name it. and i remember one of them looking at me and saying you expect me to go to kosovo without my firearm? none of them ended up going, although i think a few ended up going later on as part of a peacekeeping mission. the osce mission was a sellout, and fuaci who was -- fauci who
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had emerged as the political leader of the kla rejected it. he said we want armed intervention instead. in fact, this was part of a process that was necessary to bring the international community to the point of armed intervention. really before the osce deployment could stand up there was an incident in early january in which six serbian teenagers were killed at the marco polo club in pega in kosovo. in response to that, 45 albanians, including women and children, were murdered a week later. many of them were beheaded and mutilated including a 12-year-old poi. boy. world bill walker, an american diplomat, arrived on the spot and, visibly shaken by what he saw, he called it a crime against humanity, and soon after a rapid reaction force in macedonia engineered the withdrawal of the osc
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e-verifiers. in early february the french convened a negotiation, hay wanted to do something -- they wanted to do something like the dayton accord. the difference, of course, at dayton there was not a cappuccino machine in site. they contracted a fancy company, and this turned into a little more of festivities for the serbian delegation than a serious negotiation. of course, mr. milosevic did not show up, so there was really no decider in the room. i think i was not on this floor, maybe it was on the 12th floor, but on the 23rd of march, i looked at my cell phone which was ringing, and it said richard holbrooke calling. and, you know, i thought to myself, you know, this is peculiar. he's in belgrade negotiating with milosevic. i picked up the phone, and it was jim o'brien who was
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madeleine albright's chief of staff. and jim told me we're on the tarmac in belgrade, the peace talks have broken down. we're going to start bombing tomorrow. well, you can imagine having spent ten years working on this issue, my heart practically just leapt out of my chest. they asked me to call all the albanian-americans that i knew, people like jim and harry and have them call their families in kosovo to tell them that war was imminent. so what i didn't want realize at the time was that milosevic wasn't leaving the tarmac in belgrade to come back to the united states, holbrooke was not leaving the tarmac. he instead went to budapest. and he knew full well that all those calls were going to be monitored by serbian intelligence, and this was just a last ditch effort to send the message to milosevic that this was a serious effort. and that, in fact, nato's action was coming the next day. so i got on the phone, i called
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everybody i knew. milosevic heard all those intercepts, clearly ignored them. the next day nato launched what was a 78-day air campaign. it finished on the, in early june and then culminated with u.n. security council resolution 1244, um, which set up the u.n. mission in kosovo, an effort to build the institutions of self-government that would inevitably lead to kosovo's independence. that didn't happen overnight. there was a policy adopted by michael steiner, the srsg, called standards before status. there was really no measurable progress. in the spring of 2004, albanians again took matters into their own hands attacking serbian communities and the u.n. in what, in retrospect, increasingly looked like a planned operation. regardless, it was abundantly clear that the status quo was
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not tenable and that the international community had to adopt its plan recognizing the inevitability of kosovo's independence. person that was selected to steward this process was marty -- [inaudible] his first task was, essentially, to negotiate a package of minority rights, measures to protect and promote the interests of serbs. marty served as a great resource to me as i was conducting my interviews and research for the book. he rather modestly said the principles represented the gold standard of any international effort to hold forth minority rights' principles. they were, of course, ultimately rejected by serbia. and on the 17th of february in 2008, there was a coordinated declaration of independence. um, i was one of the lucky ones. i happened to be passing through
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kosovo on my way to istanbul that day. anybody else who tried to book a commercial flight in just simply couldn't make it. i remember talking to holbrooke on my way out to the airport. of course, he was giving me instructions at everything i needed to tell in my meeting with him the next morning. people like eliot engel, the congressman from new york, didn't make it there either. and i have to say it was really a rather remarkable day. as you can see from the cover of the book, lots of flags flying, american flags, albanian flags. there was a cake that was made that was several kilometers long. everybody came out into the street. there was a band that played "ode for joy." it was really quite a moment in history. as kosovo emerged as the world's newest nation. so i i wanted to give you a little bit about the blow by blow so we could recognize ha what happened in kosovo -- that what happened in kosovo wasn't something that was done
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frivolously by the international community. it took a decade of advocacy and documentation including an effort that albania led at the u.n. to show that there was a really gross pattern of human rights abuses. and then kosovo's emergence as an independent state was hardly a foregone conclusion. it was, in fact, inevitable, but it took many years. so what lessons do we learn from kosovo? um, violence to achieve political goals, you know, when human rights are violated and national aspirations are denied, i have come to realize from working in conflict zones around the world, is legitimate. when there is no recourse, when there is no democratic option, this it is, in fact, a noble struggle when freedom fighters stand up for their rights and use all necessary means to achieve their independence.
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when we think about intervention, that doesn't necessarily, however, mean military action. there are a whole range of tools that fit into the intervention category that come well before the decision to pull the trigger and go to war. these include early action tools, diplomatic and political, economic and financial, intelligence and law enforcement measures, moral persuasion, the bully pulpit of the executive in washington has instem bl importance. n., marty was right, the ahtisaari principles really do represent the gold standard, and whether it's in other countries around the world where there are castes of nations who are struggling to realize their rights and national aspirations, the ahtisaari principles do represent competing claims through the protection and promotion of minority rights.
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dominic, the french official, said in the context of the debate about the iraq war that war is always a last resort and that war always represents the failure of diplomacy. even though i did earlier endorse the noble struggle when all options are eliminated, i do want to underscore that that always has to be the last option. not only for the international community, but for human rights advocates who find their dreams for rights and self-determination repressed. of course, we've learned from the iraq war that u.n. security council resolution authorization is always preferable. but at the same time we also learn that the united states cannot defer responsibility to the world body or allow the u.n. to wield a veto. with russia paralyzing the security council, military action in kosovo was authorized by the north atlantic alliance.
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the importance of having regional or subregional organizationings involved -- organizations involved may not give legal authority under the u.n. charter, but it does create political justification, and that is an important element as then-secretary general kofi annan pointed out in the kosovo context. nothing is more corrosive to the credibility of the united states than the gap between rhetoric and action. having repeatedly threatened milosevic with the use of force, the u.s. was, in fact, finally compelled to act because its credibility was at stake. it's important to walk the talk. if we hadn't threatened milosevic so often and so loudly, i'm not sure that we would ever have gotten to the point where the north atlantic council would have been compelled to authorize a use of force. of course, you can't have a military intervention without
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domestic political backing. i spoke earlier about the albanian-american commitment. they played an absolutely indispensable role in building support for nato's bombing campaign in kosovo. at the same time, you also have to have a bipartisan approach. you know, clinton went to war to liberate kosovo. it was president bush who stewarded kosovo's emergence as an independent country. you had democratic senators and republican senators like bob dole working arm in arm during the debate around kosovo, so really represented a triumph of bipartisanship over several administrations. with intervention, which is an event that occurs over a specific number of days, there also comes a responsibility, a responsibility to steward the process which involves humanitarian action after the fighting stops and then, ultimately, state building.
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most postconflict challenges and nation building take time and require an enduring political, financial and security commitment from the international commitment. nato forces are, in fact, deployed in kosovo to this day, and as we've seen in other examples, notably afghanistan, you know, the international community needs to act in concert when facing great challenges. i also have concluded that a sin quo nonfor military action is a need for a credible local partner. there was a great effort to establish a kosovo unity team and to a greater or lesser extent of success the fact that dino was assassinated suggests the problems with establishing governance and the rule of law that exists in kosovo. we ran into the same problem in iraq after decapitating the regime of saddam hussein. it was our folly to think that
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we were welcomed with roses and those challenges were much greater. the same problem exists in afghanistan where we invested our hopes for future governance with hamid karzai and his criminal gang of family members. clearly, they have not proven to be reliable partners, which is why afghanistan struggles so mightily to this day. let me now reflect broadly on some of the soul searching that came out of the kosovo experience. as michael indicated earlier, kosovo was undertaken without authorization from the u.n. security council. um, it represented a serious challenge to the international order, and it ultimately sparked a deep debate about balancing the rights of states with the rights of peoples who live in those states. especially when the heads of those states commit atrocities
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against their own citizens. the interventions that we saw in the 1990s -- somalia, haiti, bosnia, kosovo -- were, essentially, reactive. unable to achieve a consensus in foreign interventions and feeling rather guilt ridden over its failure in places like rwanda, the u.s. and the international community at the end of that, the bloodiest century in human history, pivoted the to prevention. in 2000 a report published by the formerral jeer yang foreign minister who had negotiated the accords that ended civil war in lebanon focused on situation analysis and improved systems for gathering data and providing it to the u.n.'s high-level threat panel. the following year canadian-sponsored initiative, the responsibility to protect articulated in institutional
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framework for action bestowing both moral authority and a legal basis for intervention. of it was warmly welcomed by people like ahtisaari for those reasons. of course, true peace started by asserting the primacy of states. in authorizing the r2p, the u.n. general assembly also endured targeted sanctions, travel bans, arms embargoes and the threat of prosecution by the international criminal court when states fail in their responsibility to protect citizens. military actions, still the purview of the u.n. security council, was envisioned after all nonviolent means at conflict prevention had been exhausted. i spoke earlier about iraq, and let me just sort of state without any ambiguity that america's invasion and occupation of iraq in violation of international law and under false pretendses undermined a century of progress establishing
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the basis for intervention. after iraq and afghanistan, the security council reflexively opposes intervention in almost any form. russia and china were joined by countries in the southern hemisphere to establish something which in the halls of the u.n. is referred to as the axis of sovereignty. that axis of sovereignty remained dominant up until 2011 when muammar gadhafi's threat to raze benghazi and kill all of its citizens represented such a serious threat to peace and security that russia and china acquiesced to u.n. resolution 1973 authorizing all necessary measures to protect civilians short of a military occupation. these countries reacted with indignation when the resolution
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was, in fact, used to justify regime change, and they responded by vetoing three subsequent resolutions that were intended to ratchet up the pressure on assad in syria. try to bring about a prevention or end to that terrible slaughter he's perpetrating in the civil war that's victimizing syrian citizens. as a result of these events that really bring us to the present, it is a sad reality that international consensus for intervention if all forms -- in all forms is increasingly unlikely in today's multipolar world. the one finish the way that the united states and some other countries have responded to that has been by internalizing r2p at the national level. president obama announced on the 23rd of april of 2012 -- happens to be the day before the armenian genocide anniversary,
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something called the atrocities prevention board -- the apb represents a whole-of-government approach to make the u.s. government more nimble and effective. it relies on data gathering and analysis. it also requires the u.s. intelligence community to provide national intelligence estimates of emerging conflicts. the military's supposed to take additional steps to incorporate prevention of atrocities into its doctrine and planning, and the state department is intended to create a diplomatic corps that conclude use as a surge when atrocities are occurring or about to occur. across government there are alert channels established that insure that information about unfolding crises are pushed up to the principles committee and to the president without pure bureaucratic -- bureaucratic b delay. of when he announced the atrocities prevention board,
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president obama maintained, and i quote here: preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the united states. i don't think anyone in this room would argue that when we see civilians being slaughtered, ha americans who -- that americans who really want to use america's virtuous power in service of the greater good feel appalled. and we want to do what is necessary to prevent that from happening. there is no doubt in my mind that preventing genocide is indisputably a moral responsibility. it is not, however, on its own a core national security interest. if it were, we would have seen the united states deploy military as is sets to prevent the slaughter of five million people and the democratic republic of the congo or the to
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prevent the genocide of darfuris in sudan. we're joined by our visiting scholar, mr. ahmed, with whom we work on a range of activities in sudan. so clearly, the drc in sudan and other civilian atrocities don't rise to the level of military intervention. the par for military action has been set very high. the bar for military action has been set very high. if it weren't, we would have seen the united states respond more proactively in places like darfur. i do want to point out my sort of strongly-held view that the u.s. does, in fact, have a core national security interest to intervene under certain special circumstances, and those circumstances should be articulated with absolute clarity as a way of sending a message to tyrants around the
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world who would use weapons of mass destruction as part of their genocidal campaigns. obama has drawn a red line in warning syria's president bashar al assad not to use chemical weapons against his people or against syria's neighbors. the u.s. made it very clear that it was prepared to destroy or seize syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons in the event that they were readied for use against civilians. ..
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>> from kosovo to syria, there's been an evolution in our approach, to intervention. it's important to reflect on these lessons and try to apply them in real terms for challenges. this story that i tell on pages of my book and effort to reflect on the diplomatic history end-of-life practical lessons as to how we can use this to face down today's great challenges. i welcome your questions. thank you for your attention. [applause]
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>> our colleagues are going to pass a microphone around. why don't we start with this gentleman? >> thank you very much. i am from peace island institute. my question is about why the u.s. has made threats to use force against -- didn't work or didn't deter of serbia? was it because milosevic? or is it because u.s. and nato showed only -- stick, not cared? what was the problem? >> so i don't think it was the sticks and carrots. i think that milosevic held a
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fundamentally racist view towards albanians, and he never believed that the u.s. and nato whatever go to war to protect albanians from serb's. he still called close ties from the second world war. he watched the security council adopt more than 60 resolutions on bosnia before taking any action. he deluded himself into thinking that there was nothing forthcoming. i remember ambassador holbrooke is negotiations with milosevic just prior to the war. he knew that military action was inevitable. because milosevic had started to believe his own propaganda. i think that's a very important litmus test when you're negotiating with a tyrannical leader and they become disassociated from reality, very hard to make rational decisions, that create conditions where there is a win-win for all the
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parties. >> hi. i am a third year student in columbia college. now, you mentioned that freedom fighters and groups fighting against the regime, they have like a certain skill set. they have, like, ways that they should, like, be able to try to overthrow an oppressive regime. however, how do we define what the cap is what those tactics they use? especially in a case like syria, when after the regime may fall, the u.s. as we hope may get involved, how would they respond to like the alawite minority in syria? how would they treat them? like, if there is any regime. because assad can he and his family have built an infrastructure in which the alawites are like in an elitist position, but there's so much resentment from other syria and majorities and minorities.
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there are little kids in refugee camps who say, we hate the alawites. when we get back to syria we will overthrow them. so hopefully will fall, how will this take place? how will reconciliation our current to these minority groups, in your opinion? >> so thanks for the question that i know you and your family come from kurdistan, and i visited there after was attacked with chemical weapons. i saw firsthand the fact of saddam hussein's aggression against the iraqi kurds. which i always felt iraqi kurdistan was entitled to rebel against saddam's authority from baghdad, and deserve the support from the united states and the international community. in answer to your question, if it was an easy answer we wouldn't be where we are today. what's important is that syrians get together, and they have a systematic and structured dialogue about powershift.
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they need to be able to envision an instinct that preserves the boundaries of syria, but also protects the rights of minority groups, both ethnic and sectarian, so we don't see any regime take power and then use the instruments of the state to seek reprisals or commit crimes against others. that's why we are involved, directly in facilitating a dialogue between stakeholders in syria, including syrian kurds, and we think that that dialogue shouldn't just be about getting to know one another but it should be about specifics and constitutional power-sharing, including federal arrangements that decentralized power so that the kurds, the alawites, christians as well as the arab sunnis can find that there inches are protected and promoted him and a new post assad syrian state.
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>> thank you. i'm bill, an independent writer. i understood you to say when his described that with holbrooke, with the contact group, that the russian representative signed onto an authorization if nato threatened the use of words. holbrooke then carry that to belgrade. if that was, can you tell me if that was so? if so, how was at that stage in the game that russia was willing to go along with the nader threat? >> that meeting was on october 13, russian foreign minister was present, and he did get his concurrence to nato's activation. that's because russia believed, correctly so at that time, that natives threat of military action was really an example of diplomacy backed by force. it was convinced milosevic would
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recognize the seriousness of nato's threat, and would stand down. and, in fact, he was correct. there was an agreement from milosevic to let them come home and allow humanitarian assets and international monitors. because if this were fast moving on the ground that agreement didn't work. but it's a further example of the lesson that ambassador holbrooke knew so well that i want to emphasize today, which is that military action always must be the last resort after all diplomatic options have been exhausted. it would never have been consented with the north atlantic council for nato authorization if we hadn't gone that extra mile to try to negotiate a peace and stabilization plan. so you don't want to be trigger-happy when lives are at
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risk, but you want to recognize the usefulness of diplomacy backed by force, and use it judiciously but with robust purpose. >> i have two questions. one is, now that the negotiations are going on between the two prime ministers of serbia and kosovo, how do you see that unfolding? and second, do you think that he is the right person for negotiations? is he the person who can resolve the issue, how it should come or how people of kosovo expecting to? while at the same time satisfying the requirements of the international community? >> oh, thank you for asking me that question. it's a difficult question. i will try to be as candid as possible when answering it. the focus -- kosovo remains a
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divided country. 20% is under serving control, and it was always his plan as a fallback to divide kosovo and preserve those northern parts under serbian control and ultimately -- i don't think that is fundamentally changed. it is good that there are negotiations going on at senior level between belgrade and christian are. whether or not the negotiations succeed depends in large measure to the leadership and vision of the political actors on both sides. neither has shown much willingness to accommodate the other. and they're clearly exist in both countries room for improvement when it comes to democratic governance and responsible and accountable leadership.
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trying to address corruption and criminality. there's been a lot of progress over the past several years. i think you read in my book that i'm quite brazen in my criticism of the leadership for having fallen short of the expectation. i think for a, nation of falling short and the international local climate, so they have no only receive recognition from 97 countries. and it should be recognized by all u.n. member states. there should be a kosovo flag flying at the u.n., and that is the inevitable result of this diplomacy. the sooner we get there the more stable and peaceful the process will be. negotiations are the way the. >> [inaudible] >> i have two questions. the first is, since we went to the aid of the albanians, why is
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it that hasn't played out in the arab world as to we stand for positive interaction for muslims -- for muslim individuals. that's my first question. my second question is, the convoy you mentioned about the red lights with respect assad and, so that brought to my mind the convoy that was leaving syria headed to hezbollah in lebanon which the israelis bombed, what was actually in that convoy? and what was the response of the united states to israel during the burden, which very often it does. thank you. >> so i think it's a very important point to emphasize that the u.s. has come to the rescue of the muslim population
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in bosnia and kosovo, and elsewhere. [inaudible] >> it has also supported the arab spring. the arab spring we've seen over the past year has held some hidden challenges. in order to democratize the arab world where there is no history of democracy and no deeply rooted civil society, it's going to take time and a continued commitment. i am convinced that the obama administration strongly supports basic freedoms in the arab world and will continue to work on places like egypt and tunisia so that the muslim identity of its citizens can be preserved and the democratic aspirations of its people can be realized. as far as the convoy, you know, i'm not privy to intelligence about what the convoy contained. i suspect that either included missile technology or wmd, or
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israel would not have felt compelled to attack the convoy across the border into syria. and that kind of preemptive action when it comes to offensive weapons or wmd. in my mind it is entirely justified and the united states would be entirely right supporting it. >> thank you, david. your remarks indicate a fastening both this is. it's a great preview to reading it. i look forward to doing exactly that. there's one issue that has been in the literature heavily debated about kosovo, and i think you're in a very good position to clarify the issue. what you've already said makes a negotiated agreement very unlikely, remarks at milosevic were not promising for a negotiated agreement. other scholars have suggested that on the other side, that is,
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on the kosovo our side, there was really no willingness to to negotiate either, and that is that there was nothing short of complete independence that was acceptable for either the leadership or the people of kosovo. and that one could imagine would be something to be very difficult for serbia, even under leadership other than milosevic to accept. and so the question is, was there really iran for negotiated solution under ideal circumstances? or was this a necessary theater, as some critics in the process have suggested? i'm wondering you could enlighten us on the? >> it did result in an agreement. the albanian delegation refused to endorse it. they said we had to go back and consult our field commanders. they clearly have no appetite because it didn't provide
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certainty as to their independence. they did go back. they did speak to others. and there was a full court press that was put on to get them to agree. people like bob dole grew over and try to persuade them. ultimately, they did agree. they went back to paris, but they never accepted the principles, which were essentially about power-sharing. they just recognize, they were probably persuaded by american diplomats to recognize that a greedy was a necessary step in exhaust in the last diplomatic option. and that there was no prospect that belgrade would agree. so as a tool for mobilizing agreement the north lead counsel they put their signature on the paper. so i don't think that it ever represented a serious prospect
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for resolving diplomatically, the dispute between belgrade. it was however, a necessary step in the dance that culminated in military action and ultimately put itself on the path to independence. so in that perspective i think we should be -- diplomacy not only as serious negotiation but also create conditions that ultimately serve the final objective. >> thank you, david. i'm a visiting scholar. actually your book actually -- policymakers international policymakers, freedom fighters and the aspera leaders i think.
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most groups will find it pretty useful. [inaudible] listening to him actually, it is very difficult to imagine united states -- [inaudible]. however, that may drive international obligation of the united states leaders of free will. a lot of people around -- [inaudible]. if you compare kosovo without force, i think more than 400,000 have been killed, there are more than 3 million actually refugees right now in countries.
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because actually the international community -- has been created by bus bashir on te side. sitting president. so a lot of this kind of victimization which happened i shall and kosovo it is still going on. [inaudible]. i just want you to reflect on the two cases and why there was intervention in kosovo, and there's no intervention? why is that still unfolding? thank you. >> so secretary albright famously said we will not allow to happen in kosovo what happened in bosnia. so it occurred at a different time in history, in a different political context.
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so i think we need to keep that very much in mind. we also learned from the kosovo case that domestic politics has a lot to do with the decision-making. i really don't want to underestimate the potential role the albanian american community plate in mobilizing action in support of a military intervention. the fact of the matter is that we all recognize that the killing of darfur is genocide. we also recognize from his repeated aggression against his own citizens and against south sudan that there is no prospect of a lasting negotiated settlement with the current leadership in khartoum. and that ultimately, the only way to establish peace in sudan, and peace in the region, is for there to be a change of regime in sudan. we also have to be very candid
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about recognizing that there is no appetite in the united states right now for military action. we just now are getting out of a decade-long war in afghanistan. iraq was a long national nightmare. there's no appetite in the national security council, as we saw with the testimonies around recent confirmation hearings for intervention in a place like syria. and certainly not in sudan. so the we are appalled, the genocide of darfur and the aggression in blue nile and cortisone and south sudan, we need to be created -- creative about finding other ways of assisting victims and putting pressure on the regime. i think part of that come and these are conversations that we've had, how do you mobilize greater awareness about what's happened? and build domestic political support for both proactive
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effort. but that has to start from the recognition that right now the center of gravity in the united states is against military intervention. it is costly. it is not something that the american taxpayer wants to bear, but that doesn't aggregate us on the moral responsibility to help victims, which is distinct from what i tried to draw in my prepared remarks. thanks for the question. >> i wondered if you would draw comparisons between bosnia and kosovo in terms of what you think they've -- eventually given independence, given the fact that terrific power-sharing, and in terms of, what kind of governance in an ideal world would we prefer in the world? would it be power-sharing or push towards independence?
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>> i think there's an easy answer to your question. no. people, 100,000 people died is bosnia, because they believed in an ideal, a bosnian ideal of moralism and coexistence. so to somehow reward the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing into officially sanctioned the partition of bosnia would be a betrayal of all those people who were slaughtered and displaced. if there's one element of the dayton peace agreement that i think it's negotiated would look back with regret would be the term -- somehow that implies that the serbian controlled territories, would -- which used to be multiethnic, many were in the territory. if that were somehow sanctioned. so they would want to not use
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that term. i think, too, if ambassador holbrooke were alive he would be talking about upgrading dayton, revising dayton, and creating the tissue of national coherence so that the citizens of bosnia, both croats, serbs in bosnia, both catholics, orthodox and muslims could find areas of coexistence. and let's remember that the synagogue, mosque and the church were on the same street in sarajevo. and the reason why it was targeted in croatia is precisely because it represented a symbol of cultures coexisting and co-mingling. i do think we should surrender that ideal. i think that ideal is something that we should fight for, and that we should do our utmost diplomatically and through economic investment to preserve. that's the bosnian idea and that's an ideal on which i still
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maintain and which the international community remains committed. >> i'm a grad student. i take a class or with the professor come and went to discussion yesterday about the applications of u.s. and nato interventions for negotiations with iran and north korea. and in the future, similar potentially rogue states where concerns were expressed that every time the u.s. or every time they don't uses force or any kind of invention, especially violent force, it makes it harder to bring governments like iranian's to the negotiating table because they have perhaps somewhat legitimate fear that the u.s. and major countries will try for a regime change. would you comment on that? >> so, it should be the burden of the iranian people to effect regime change. i am fully committed to the hope
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that iran can rejoin the community of nations someday and be treated as a normal country. i would dispute your use of the term potentially rogue regimes in referring to north korea and iran. [inaudible] >> good, then we are in full agreement. they are rogue regimes. they practice force against their own citizens. if nothing else, we see from the nuclear test by the dprk that they completely turned their nose at international opinion. and the only well to deal with regimes like that is through strength, and strength at the negotiating table. and they must be convinced that the international community is prepared to use the full panoply of instruments in order to coerce a change in the behavior.
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and they also have to know that there is a red line. in the case of iran, if iran does have a legal right for nuclear energy, it has not yet obviously made the strategic decision to weaponizing their program. if they did cross that red line and decided to weaponizing, then a full military response of international committee led by the united states would come in my opinion, be entirely justified. at the negotiating table they have to know there are rewards for accommodating international norms. are also treated measures should they fail to. and we have to be out of met and clear in communicating through negotiation, whether they're bilateral or through multilateral processes where the antagonists know on what we are prepared to do to bring them back in line.
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>> i work on humanitarian affairs. would you say it's more about the dynamics within the united states that threatens to do with this hearing crisis. it struck me as far as i read in the papers come in the fall there was consensus from the state department, military and intelligence community that something robust had to be done. which was nixed by the white house. at the same time, united states went to security council with a number of resolutions which were nixed by the chinese and the russians. if the chinese and russians have suddenly folded as americans take a lickin what then would the americans have done? and is there still a countercurrent in the american foreign policy establishment that's willing to take it a bit more robust toward syria in just over 1 million refugees languish, tens of thousands of
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people killed in kuwait? >> so, let's refer to the document. the debate was not about launching a military action in syria. it was about arming the syrian rebel, and the decision to arm and equip enjoyed favor with the secretary of defense, the head of the cia and the secretary of the state. it was vetoed in the white house. i think it was vetoed because we know very little about the syrian rebels and we are concerned they will turn those weapons against other civilians, and might themselves have atrocities or perpetrate criminal activity. and i think that's a legitimate frame, legitimate concern. that's why it's important to reach out to syrian rebels, let them know that there are other areas of robust participation by the united states, and to facilitate for them a dialogue
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so that they can start to envision what life is going to be like after assad. i don't think there's a chance assad will survive this crisis. he will be removed. what happens after is uncertain. and that's why there should be a dialogue about power-sharing. that's why the experience of decentralization and federal arrangement that exists in enabling countries and also in the world should be brought. if the united states and the international community doesn't facilitate that dialogue, it's unlikely to happen on its own. so effectively, you should be looking at all the options, including military action, including harming -- arming the rebels but if a decision is made, if the risk of that is too great, then there are remedies. the remedy is always humanitarian action.
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i remember harris, the prime minister of bosnia, when the u.s. announced a food air lift saying, we want them to drop the bombs and instead they are dropping sandwiches. humanitarian action is always a substitute for taking the hard political decisions. i think obama is guided by the very strong conviction of do no harm. and arming the rebels are launching military action potentially unleashes harm, or forces over which, that which we do not know andover which we do not have control. we should be circumspect and find other ways of supporting the people of syria. >> no-fly zone? >> all those are standard options. humanitarian corridor. if you want to deny the use of helicopter gunships, you can establish a no-fly zone.
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but as we saw in libya, these are not decisions that are taken by politicians and senators in washington. these are decisions that have to be calculated at the pentagon, and the political cost has to be evaluated in the white house. if you're going to do what you have to do fully and effectively. and if you can't have, yeah, can't have an operation. so if you're going to go that route you have to be fully committed to its success. >> please join me in thanking david phillips for a wonderful presentation, a preview of a great book. showing the relevance of your work and your ideas. thank you much. >> thank you, michael. [applause] >> and thank you all for being
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with us today. >> we are learning today the president obama has accepted the retirement of the longest serving leader of u.s. and nato troops in afghanistan, marine general john allen. he was the president's nominee to be supreme allied commander in europe. that nomination was on hold during a pentagon investigation into e-mails that general our exchange with a civilian woman who was linked to the scandal that forced general david petraeus to resign. general allen has since been cleared of wrongdoing. the "washington post" reporting that general allen is leaving the service because his wife is seriously ill. and a reminder that life deny former cia director michael hayden will discuss how digital technology is transform the national security and intelligence gathering as the u.s. notes efforts to stop cyber attacks and threats from terrorists and rogue nations.
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that will be live from george washington university here in washington, d.c. >> congress is out this week for the presidents' day holiday so we are featuring some booktv weekend programming. in prime time here on c-span2. >> the government accountability office has released its 2013 report on federal programs and operations identified as high risk for waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement. it states climate change poses a serious financial threat. , co-general gene dodaro discussed the details of the report during a house oversight and government reform committee hearing from capitol hill. this lasts about an hour 45 minutes.
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>> the hearing will come to order on exploring gao's high-risk list and opportunities for reform. we on the oversight of government reform committee exists to secure to fundamental principles. first, americans have a right to know that the money washington takes from them is well spent. and second, americans deserve an efficient, effective government that works for them. our duty on the government oversight and reform committee is to protect these rights to our solemn responsibility is to hold government accountable to taxpayers, because taxpayers have a right to know what they get from their government. our obligation is to work tirelessly in partnership with citizen watchdogs and the gao, to deliver the facts to the american people and bring genuine reform to federal bureaucracy.
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today, we are having our broadest oversight hearing that we have in any one congress. that's because the gao's report is, in fact, on all spending of government and all risk to government. and, in fact, is the most important report published. each two years, general dodaro and his staff assess all the risk to the government. in size of the risk, in dollars, but also in the likelihood of success or failure. this risk produces the top, if you will, highest threat. it also recognizes the success that sometimes occurs because of both gao and this committee's efforts to work with the government to reduce waste and risk to government. this year, by one account we
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lost $261 billion, or 7% of our total spending in fraud and waste. i might note that when you analyze that, or if you will, decadize it, that represents $2.6 trillion, about twice what we're looking at for the sequestration. the 30 areas that this year are on the high-risk list represent tremendous opportunities to save those billions of dollars. and i'm i repeat, if we were able to save just half of what we waste, we would need no sequestration at all. as we're going to hear today, those areas extend from the department of defense to our weather system. from elements related to great storms such as superstorm sandy two, in fact, the simple monday
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and medicaid medicare program that every day touch our lives in important ways. the truth is identify high-risk areas isn't enough anymore. it's clear that many of the areas at high risk are perennial high risks. 17 areas on this year's high-risk list have been on that list for more than a decade. six have been on that list since its inception. i don't expect overnight to fix dod procurement. i don't expect overnight to take medicare now becoming our largest total expense, and eclipsing if you include the dual eligible medicare, medicaid recipients, eclipsing both social security and our department of defense individual spending. i don't expect to fix it overnight. but with the help of the gao on a nonpartisan -- nonpartisan basis, we have an opportunity to
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attack each of these areas and make real improvements to our commitment is to make those real improvements. i'm pleased -- excuse me. i am pleased to see a particular emphasis on the program of medicare and medicaid, which are permanent fixtures that, in fact, this is an area of particular opportunity for reduction in waste and consistent with the affordable health care act, an area of growth in number of recipients. the committee has just voted on a bipartisan basis, on a report related specifically to new york state. during the dialogue we mentioned an equally outlandish problem that existed in the state of texas. these billions of dollars can no longer be tolerated. we must find them not after decades of waste and abuse, but,
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in fact, in real-time. this committee will have before it today -- will have before during this congress an updated version of the bipartisan data act. it will have an updated version, or a version of our i.t. reform on a bipartisan basis. these and other systems that this committee is responsible for changes will create the opportunity to save money in i.t. procurement, and deliver better information to decision-makers. it also will create greater transparency for the gao and their work, for congress in its work, and for all the watchdogs of waste and abuse. so as we begin this hearing today, with our esteemed comptroller general, we also realize that this legislative work for us to do if this list is to be successfully attacked and reduced. i look forward to working on both a legislative issues and the oversight issues with my
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partner, the ranking member, mr. cummings, who i now recognize was opening statement. >> i want to thank you, mr. chairman, probably the thing. i believe this'll be one of the most important hearings this committee will hold this congress. mr. dodaro, also thank you for testifying before us today. and i thank you for the work gao put into creating this high-risk report. i also ask that you extend the gratitude of this entire committee for the hard work of the folks at gao. as i said earlier any press conference, they have earned the reputation -- reputation for outstanding and accurate work and work that helps our government function better. so we publicly say thank you to them. every one of gao's high-risk reports has been important. however, this year's report is especially significant because comptroller general, nonpartisan
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experts at gao, have made a landmark decision to add the issue of climate change to their biannual high-risk report which details for most threatening challenges facing our nation and federal government. in addition for gl identified a serious risks facing our nation. one that we cannot continue to ignore. gao finds that climate change poses significant financial risk to our nations economy, including agriculture, infrastructure, ecosystem and human health. gao warned that our government is not in all positions to address this fiscal exposure, and gao recommends a government watch strategic approach to manage climate change risk. gao finds that the government has are spent tens of thousands of dollars on damage from severe weather events related to
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climate change. according to the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, over the past two years the united states has experienced 25 weather disasters that cost over a billion dollars each. gao historic decision to add climate change to the list of high-risk challenges facing our nation is a wakeup call for congress to finally start addressing this very, very critical issue. unfortunately, in the last congress the house republicans voted 37 times to block action to address the threat of climate change. for example, this last climate change research funding by more than $100 million. they voted to prevent the state department from using funds to send a special envoy for climate change to international climate negotiations.
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they voted to zero out the united states contributions on climate change. the world's leading authority on climate change science. they voted to prohibit the department of homeland security from using any funds to participate in the in the agency climate change at that station task force. they voted to prohibit the department of agriculture for reducing any funds to the this climate change adaptation program. what gao is telling us today is that congress simply cannot afford to block or delay action any longer. we must act now to in the gao's recommendation and mitigate the risks from climate change. for these reasons i sent a letter to chairman issa today requesting that our committee hold a series of hearings to address each of the four specific areas that gao highlights in his report relating to climate change. and in an earlier press conference, chairman issa i am a very good point, and that is perhaps we should look at what
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responsibilities states are playing with regard to climate change, and what responsibility they should have. and i'm hoping that we, as i said to him are there, maybe will have some governors to come in and talk about their responsibility and things they are doing to prepare for whether tight problems that might affect their cities. >> thank you when we were here two years ago on considering gao's last high-risk report in 2011, you said it is our committee's obligation, over the issues raised by gao, i each of the agencies listed here today. i a great then and i agreement. with our jurisdiction across multiple federal agencies in the department, we have a very unique opportunity to conduct hearings that will lead to a
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vigorous oversight, responsible funding decisions, and legislation to address the growing threats of public health and our economy. as the president noted the other night in his state of the union, we have seen in the last 10 or 15 years just an onslaught of weather-related problems. and i'm hoping that we all work together closely to prepare for the fiscal impact of those problems. and with that, i stand ready, willing and able to work with the chairman. and with that i just backspin i thank the gentleman. and as we did discuss, i believe we need to kick off the first hearing related to that risk, and i look forward to scheduling that hearing. and also suggesting that of the committees of jurisdiction to their oversight related specifically to those areas. and with that we now recognize
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our first witness, and the panel behind him. i'm pleased to welcome the honorable gene dodaro, who is the comptroller general of the united states. he also comes with a small sampling of his team of experts from the united states government accountability office office that is here today. and i'll try not to miss opinions but if you would rise just so that the audience can know that he came with a tremendous amount of expertise. chris men is managing director of strategic issues at gao. mark gaffigan is managing director of natural resources and and i'm at the gao. kathleen derrick is managing director of homeland security and justice issues at the gao. phillip herr is managing director of infrastructure issues at the gao. that's physical actually.
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a williams brown is managing director of financial markets, it of particular concern, and community investment at the gao. and mr. david powner is director of information technology managing systems at the gao. and i'm not going to ask you all to stand because if you going to help the general, you may very well be a witness to would you please raise your right hand and repeat. [witnesses were sworn in] >> let the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. and and normally we have that five minute clock. for your reference we will have the. if you run a little over, you are the whole show today, so jim, you're recognized. >> thank you very much, mr.
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chairman, ranking member cummings, members of the committee. i'm very pleased to be invited today to talk about gao's high-risk list updated. we do this update as noted every two years with the beginning of each new congress in order to identify areas that we believe are the highest risk of waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement, or are in need of broad-based reform. i'm very pleased to report with this committee's help, and i appreciate your support, mr. chairman, mr. cummings, and committee members, of oversight. since our last report in 2011, that notable progress has been made in the vast majority of areas on the high-risk list. this has been due in part to legislation passed by the congress. for example, the fda authorization act addressed many issues that gao had recommended for improvements to oversight of medical products and devices.
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for example, dealing with drug shortages and also increased inspections, risk-based and foreign operations. congress also passed important legislation concerning the flood insurance program, which is also on our list. also, omb and the agencies have been holding regular meetings with gao, which i personally purchased it in in order to focus on solutions and to identify ways to make the necessary improvements to get off of the list. this year, enough progress has been made that we are removing two items from the list. first was in a agency contracted interagency contracts can actually be a very good and important management tool if done properly. we found back in 2005 they were not done very well. they were out of scope in terms of the contracts, lack of competition. one of our most notable examples with the hiring of interrogators for iraq using an i.t.
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contractor. since then, important procedures have been put in place, agencies, to fix the problem. congress has required the federal acquisition -- and also require a business case before new contracts are put in place and better data is now being collected in those areas. so we believe that there are adequate mechanisms in place in order to help manage this very important pool to help the government leverage its buying power. secondly, we are removing the irs business systems modernization from the list there it was originally put on in 1995 due to the irs being mired with management and technical problems with her modernization effort. they have made steady progress over the years. they just deploy the first module, a system which allowed now daily updating taxpayer accounts which will improve taxpayer service and also their
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enforcement activities as well. we have reviewed their investment management practices and found about 80% of them need the best practices, and other project management recommendations do that. they are software development component now has been rated at a computer maturity model level of three under software engineering institute standards, which means it's a good level by industry standards. two important points i would make in these areas we are taken off the list. one, we continue to monitor those areas after they are off the list. they may be off the list but they are not out of sight. so we make sure that the progress that's been gained is enduring. secondly, like the other areas that eventually come off the list, they come off because of two major regions -- recent. one is the same congressional oversight. oversight and the interagency
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contracting congress insisted on important reforms, required the igs to do continue reviews in this area. the irs area congress required an annual expenditure plan from irs every year and a gao review. so continued congressional oversight can pay enormous dividends in resolving many of these problems. the two new areas where adding this year, one is limiting the federal government's fiscal exposure by better managing climate change risk. it's clear the number of disasters have gone from, in 2004 to the federal government convening and 65 to 98, and 2012 which is a record number of years. there's indications that the severe weather events, both by the national academy of sciences and by the governments global change management research program, that there will be more events occurring, more costly events. the federal government has
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enormous exposure to these risks. first, it's one of the largest property owners in the government. the nation. there are hundreds of thousands of buildings that the federal government owns, and also defense installations along our coastline. also the federal government holds 29% of the properties in the united states, and manages that property. also manages the flood and crop insurance programs, which we recommended take into account climate science issues and we've had enough progress. we found, and government has also the provider of disaster eight. over $80 billion over the past year and before the assistance for hurricane sandy, we found that the criteria for the federal government intervening in a disaster is an artificially low level but it's based on $1.36 per person per state your
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so any disaster that exceeds the threshold its federal assistance. and it had not been adjusted for inflation for 13 year period of time. had it been adjusted for inflation, the federal government would have intervened with 25% less situations in terms of the federal government deciding to get involved. we recommend that the federal government needs a better strategic plan for this area that sets priorities, to guide decisions, individual agencies have plans but as the overall central direction, and priorities that are set for that area. and coordinate of the federal level or with the state and local governments. i do, mr. chairman, you make a point this morning. that's in our report. if you import the federal government provide technical information on weather related issues to state and local governments to guide their investment decisions in huge amounts of infrastructure. the federal flood insurance
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programs and the crop insurance programs need to be reformed, and we need to set better criteria that takes into account the federal government's fiscal condition right now. last area we added on the list is gaps in weather satellite information, due to management problems and acquisition problems over the years. right now that gaps in the polar orbiting satellites that provide early, midday and afternoon warnings to feed computer weather prediction models, and to provide the three, four, and 70 forecasts has a potential for gaps to occur as early as 2014, and could last up to 53 months. this is very important. without that information, one credible organization has said that the information for the polar orbiting satellites, the prediction of the path for
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superstorm sandy would have shown a going out to sea and not hitting new jersey at all. and so without this critical information, their property lies, economic consequences. so we are adding this eric your high-risk list. our recommendation, contingency plans have been developed, but they need to be executed and monitored probably. and i think congressional oversight could be very beneficial and necessary in this area. so, mr. chairman, that concludes my broad overview of the major changes on the list. there are 30 items now remaining on the list. i be happy to answer questions. >> thank you. i when i recognize myself for a few quick questions. first of all, my understanding of your report is that the fda has not really solved its problem of meeting its responsibility for drug availability, that that continue to be an area in which the american people cannot count on both generic antibiotics or
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chemotherapy drugs being in proper supply base on this study. is that correct? >> they still have to step up and make some changes in order to do that. congress now has given them the authority to drug manufacturers notified them in advance of shortages, which is a very important step and consistent with a prior gao recommendation. but they must follow through. once they have that information, they must then take action. we will carefully continue to monitor that situation, mr. chairman. there's also areas that we pointed out where they need to make sure that they do post-market studies to make sure their recalls are done properly as well. so both those areas are on our radar screen. >> i appreciate it. your concern on fha, if i understand correctly, is that because the issue effectively zero down loans, very similar to the loans that got us in trouble
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with freddie and fannie, technically 4% but after looking closing cost they are really zero down, that any reduction in home value, short term, could put fha in a similar situation to freddie and fannie, is that correct? >> their financial situation is precarious. there's high-risk. ..
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of the federal government's role should be in the housing market. >> if understand correctly when you said why not indexing the stellar 36 per capita of the 25% would not even if it made the list effectively what you are saying is we have shifted 25% things which are in constant dollars state responsibility we have shifted them on to the federal back and that is a substantial. >> the capability to be able to pay as well and they've agreed
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with the recommendation, but i think the congressional follow-up would be helpful. >> appreciate that. and last along the same line, if attacked we continue to see water levels rise around the coast lines which represent about half of our states, effectively you've looked at federal installations as one of the risk areas. in other words, we need to build and plan both naval and other military installations and federal property based on the assumption where you build one, two, 300 years ago because some of the ports are just that, revolutionary need to be planned in any way and you are calling for the internal zoning of the federal government begins making
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decisions that changes the storms and so on. >> yes, definitely. the defense department has recognized this rest inning to act on it and the congress also recognizes the risks when it passes the bigger border pact this past year, and in fact before they were prohibited for taking into account the erosion over time and now congress has required of the scions be included in the further efforts on the flood insurance program. >> and back to the flood insurance portion, my understanding is that both of our major insurance programs are not run in a way which the private sector would run their insurance, meaning we do not adjust our rates to meet the likely pay out instead of their fixed in time and so year after year after year they can come up short ultimately shifting to the taxpayer the responsibility for paying out what should the
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insurance by the injured. >> that's correct. it hasn't been provided to the congress and it's important flood insurance program even before flood insurance promoted the federal government back over $20 billion. >> if i could be injured for the less than risk i would always by the insurance. i recognize the gentleman from maryland for his questions. >> let me go to page 202 of the report where you dhaka the drug shortages to pick up on some of the things the chairman was asking about. we did some preliminary research and looked into this area of shortages and chemotherapy drugs
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when we had a market going on out there the job might start helping the manufacture of costing $7 for the gray market and selling for $700 a mile. we also had an opportunity to talk to doctors from all over the country. as a matter of fact one doctrine of from self carolina, i will never forget, she came in and is at a major medical facility and said sadly we are performing medicine like a third world country because of shortages so it is a major area and i noticed your comments did you all look into all agree market situation where people are in improperly ratcheting up and hoarding drugs
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and jacking up the cost and they are now saying 90% of the hospitals have drug shortages. have you looked at that at all from the fda monitoring standpoint. >> we've looked at it from the monitoring standpoint. if we have looked into the issue i would provide something for the record. >> you may want to look at that because, i mean, you've made some very good comments here on page 200 to, but we also i think just look at it from a monitoring standpoint is coming you know, perhaps it's good but if we have an underlying cause of greeting people on a daily basis literally taking drugs out of the hands of a hospital
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ranked number one in the world in my district. they put on the free-market and eject them up 100 times. that is the major problem that goes to so many things to the economy of course is a jackson the cost of medicine and it's a detriment to many of our constituents, so i just -- would you give me something back on that to let me know how deep he went into it? one of the things i think the chairman was saying making a part of our inquiry this session the next two years is looking not only at the fda piece of this but looking at this whole thing of the grey market.
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so i would like to sit down with you if you haven't delved into this and see where, you know, what we might be able to do it together to try to get to the bottom of that because it is a very, very serious problem. a lot of americans do not even know about it. but it's very serious. i want to very briefly go to this whole issue of climate change. the federal guard or the government has a number of efforts under way to decrease domestic greenhouse gas emissions. the success of the gas emission reduction efforts to pay is in large part on the international efforts. however, limiting the fiscal exposure to climate change risks will present a challenge the matter the outcome of the domestic and international efforts to reduce emissions. in part because greenhouse gas is already in the atmosphere will continue offering the crime to the climate system for many decades.
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so, if i did understand this correctly, the mission's that are in our atmosphere are already offering the climate system and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. is that correct? >> based on the information from the government climate change research program and the national academy of sciences, that is correct. >> is it the opinion that regardless of the outcome of the negotiations to reduce the carbon emissions in the united states government should take immediate action to mitigate the risk posed by the climate change? >> you heard the president's testimony the other night in the state of the union where he talked about he's catastrophic weather-related incidents seemed to come at a greater pace costing us billions upon billions of dollars. as you close with my questioning tell us what you are recommending, again, for us to do with regards to these
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catastrophic types of things like sandy that is costing us so much and costing such inconvenience to our citizens? >> there's several things. one of the federal government needs to be better organized and better coordinated effort among the federal departments and agencies with a strategic plan and its focus on priorities to be to reflect all of the standings on these areas but it's not well coordinated and it's not targeted and prioritized. particularly important in the budget environment right now where we have to make every dollar count we have to make the best investments possible. second we need to partner with the state and local governments and provide them better information they are already making huge investments with their own money and the federal government's money and infrastructure. so in terms of figuring out how deal with the tunnels etc. to provide accurate information on the science data that's very
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important. we need to get our act together on the flood insurance program and the crop insurance programs and make sure that's developed properly and we need to look at how we provide what the criteria is for when we intervene in disaster assistance or whether it should be a state and local responsibility. >> i thank you the ranking member and now recognize the gentleman from florida for five minutes. >> thank you and i am pleased our committee is looking at the gao 2013 high-risk list. this list is probably a good template for looking at ways in which we can have dramatic savings. right now we are practically bankrupt approaching $16.5 trillion in debt. i was wondering if you could tell me that the list is pretty expensive. there's a little bit of good
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news that you share coming off of it but when you estimate that there could be tens of billions of dollars in savings from the recommendations in these high-risk areas that you have provided. >> i think that is why it's so important that our work continue. while they are focusing some on this one report that our committee has produced, it is billions of dollars in medicare and misspent. everyone should read that. it's tens of billions of dollars of wasteful spending. programs out of control. medicare which is so important to provide those that need health care and in new york alone tens of billions of dollars outlined here. have you seen this report search? i hope you do and would confirm that. i chaired a small government operations subcommittee
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particularly interested in the managing federal property. we've heard you testify and others that we on the thousands or tens of thousands of building structures that the biggest property owner in the world probably 29% of all of the federal, all of the property in the united states is either owned or managed by the united states according to the report. is that correct? >> we are going to do some hearings. will probably start with the risk of the high-risk list that you've provided in managing the federal property and look at it. i've been at this for a week or two. what's stunning is that we did a little bit in the transportation committee. nobody has control. i was in real estate i think the last folks have given anything to manager to be the federal government in putting assets.
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would you give your real estate or assets for the federal government? >> only what is great in many conditions. >> we went out last weekend looked at a million square feet of space in springfield and i just looked at it from a management standpoint you have a lot of acreage in springfield va not well utilized. does anyone look at the specific properties with a management plan or the bet test utilization of that for the realization of taxpayers' dollars? >> we've been encouraging federal oversight over that issue. >> i could go through that and as a property manager to have that valuable asset to their it might have worked 20 years ago but not today. then the other day we went out and we looked at 7,000 acres in
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maryland and we have agricultural research center dating back from the turn-of-the-century the 500 buildings of which there are 200 that need to be demolished what stunned me is there was no plan for utilization of the acreage or the facilities. do you know of the plan or do we have any mechanism to either require an agency to have a plan to deal with those assets? >> we've made recommendations along those lines. one of the things we found is when we went out and did the type of inspections that you are talking about doing the data didn't match what was in the database. >> it's right -- >> i know where you are talking about. >> nobody has a clue. there was an incredible asset sitting there but i think the
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prohibitions have been put on doing it in which this was mind-boggling again from somebody that's built in the realistic in the private sector so i think we are going to work with you to see if we can't get some of these agencies to have plans to maximize those assets and you point out in your report here $200 million in leases since 2005. again it's only a quarter of a billion here and there but we are bankrupting the nation through policies and practices and lack of attention to maximizing our assets and we will be that i think we are going to try to do this on february 27th to work with the minority to set a date and launch a little bit more in depth on this report and we thank you you and the others for working on this and yelled back.
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>> thank you the gentleman. the chair recognizes the gentle lady from the district of columbia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. dodaro, i want to thank you you for what is always an eliminating report and for having climate change for the first time is a risk for the federal government. this has come at a time when it could not be more needed. we needed the object of government agency. it's not politically and we make it political in our onerous. i would recall in the first to congress is we have been dealing with a 100 year flood that's kind of a silly thing to even think about calling it now, even as we did a label with the 100 year flood to update how they go
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about preparing for flooding we recognize that it was a term to make people understand what was regarded as a rare event at least in terms of floods. we have gone from there to routine and unheard of. sadly, during the after sandy there was a very contentious d date in here about what to do and i think part of that comes from the unpredictability of budgeting for such a ebenefits -- events. there was no way to plan for that and there was certainly no way to budget for that. it was so unusual, to take another example shortly after that was it last week that we
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had a snowstorm that went all the way to new england and they had a wind current in the hurricane try preparing for that yet to name the ways in which we are highly vulnerable not only what we own but in the assistance that we give, the state's, emergency aid and the rest, this is very troubling, it's easier to predict the recession's for the downturn in the economy than it is to predict one of these events we seafloors growing in the wintertime and we don't know whether to borrow the springtime weather or a snowstorm and so finally when the climate change was first discussed the majority of the american people said yes something has to be done about
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it. the last over 18 months has produced a comeback in the public on an understanding of the climate change and you can understand during the recession they said they would no longer believe that when it comes to science. i need to know -- you know how our budget works the scores are developed. i accept what you say about the coordination of the federal agencies and the rest. but i have to ask you, mr. dodaro, how did you budget for the unfathomable and avoid the partisan debate when they come up? i heard some members from new york who had never seen a disaster so you just wait, somebody from mississippi got of and opposed it. that's one of the parts of the
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country that doesn't need to get up on its hind legs on the issue because we have readily come forward time and time again and i said i know that is not the way you look at it. i hope that to use it as an example voting for what happens in louisiana or some tornadoes and place it is unheard of. but i don't accept that the current process is at all responsive to this new world of climate change and i wonder if you could give us some help on how to go about in the budgeting world in which we live making these funds available wherever they occur rather quickly without the kind of contentious debate that we had here over sandy. >> there are two things we should say. first we shouldn't pretend that the disasters do not occur in our budgeting process which right now we do not budget for anything that might occur.
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now there's a historical record here that shows over time how much we always provided over a period of time so you have historical data that could be used to provide anybody is budget cut household budgets contingency plan we don't have contingency plans and our budgeting process. >> even for the types of disasters that could be expected >> that's the starting point. second, we can revisit this criteria for what we decided the federal government to pay for and what not to pay for and what should be observed that the state and local level it is badly in need of modernization and upgrading so that could give you a better indication for the budgeting purposes as well. third, we need better data on the weather-related potential changes come a good science data that is objectively collected and provided that the state and local governments and the federal government to make investment decisions to justify
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budgetary investments that would then yelled proper and a future and there's going to be obviously things that are going to come up that you do not expect but right now we are pretending we don't expect anything and that isn't the reality. >> we do budget in the expectation that there will be hurricanes and until the funds have been used up in the most recent hurricane. >> and there are revisions that are made after the disasters are in place about the additional money that is needed and that period of time to do. the budgeting system is in need of reform for these type of efforts i agree completely with your type of view. >> thank you the gentlelady. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from utah for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman and for the great work so many people do in the agency. it's a critical role to have the oversight and the audit that goes on. i want to try to touch on three topics if i can and served with
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the federal property. i've introduced a bill on 328 to try to dispose of the property but can you give me some further insight the number is greatly fluctuate on the number of underutilized buildings until fairly recently that gao had estimated 45,000 properties that underutilized and that number is now 71,000 that are underutilized and the annual operating costs remain at the build a billion five. >> why the fluctuation? i'm going to ask you to answer that question. >> one of the areas we've been looking at is the federal property database and we found as the general mentioned there's a lot of inaccuracies in that and we have been pushing and working with them to update -- >> when you say on what are we talking that tens of thousands or --
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>> one of the challenges is because of the nature of the sample we took last year and the 400,000 properties and other foreign 2,000 structures not including the postal service costs of getting the comprehensive suggestion the agencies do a better job of looking at their inventories. >> i'm looking for more specifics it just seems to me that we ought to be able to pull up the list at any given time and see the property that this country has. we can't do it even in my state of utah depravity justin the state. so why? we don't even know what we own. >> that's part of the challenge. in fact we mentioned we had a team who visit last year to highlight some of the problems he was mentioning that this is part of the challenge to estimate how inaccurate is it? are we missing 1%? based on your sample how inaccurate was it?
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>> the ones we looked at we fought for example the evaluation of the properties but in terms of doing a sample that we could generalize statistically across the country we were not able to do that given the numbers involved and what it takes. >> but in the sample we found a significant number of areas and i will provide the specifics. i was concerned with what we found in the sample to be concerned enough to make the recommendations. i would like to have a project will one but we just don't have the resources to do that. gsa is taking a broad sample and we haven't seen the results yet. so, we will follow-up and provide those to you as well. estimates on the high-risk list and you talk about the accuracy of the the the what i am concerned about is in a 24 month period he went from 45,000 properties to 71,000 properties.
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that isn't a small jump when you talk about the real property these are big assets but the dollar's didn't change used a projected 1.5 billion its yet the number jumps by about 50 plus%. so, that's a concern i would like to follow-up on and i physically don't understand how the gsa lost to entered million dollars on the leases since 2005 and putting $75 million in 2011 alone that's why these departments use it is to make sure they don't make these kind of mistakes. how does that happen? >> one of the areas as the agencies do not do a good job of sharing resources, for example there may be federal agencies located in one area looking and being encouraged to share of the space and bring other agencies to work with them.
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>> i don't have a federal building in my congressional district, but i know that as we look at our own office space it was unbelievable how much more expensive going with the federal building would be. it was ridiculous, so much so i believe our senator said i'm not paying that rate. i can't afford it and if they simply go across the street there are significant dollars in doing so so i appreciate that and mr. churn and i was going to look at the different topics and barely got through one but i don't want to hold that time i know we are anxious with 20 minutes worth of questions so i will yield back the balance of my time. estimate the chair recognizes the gentleman from virginia mr. connolly for five minutes. >> welcome to, general. on the report to talk about a higher risk of the postal service. did you at any time consult with the general counsel of your
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organization with respect to the legality of the proposed actions of the postmaster general having to go from six to five days a week? >> after the decision was announced i had to ask for the attorneys to look at the information and talk to the postal service and obtain their legal analysis they believed the argument to be novel but we would have to look at a more carefully in order to provide a full legal opinion on the issue. >> i don't want to box u.n. so what i hear you saying is that your attorneys come in your general counsel and yourself are still leading the legal arguments coming from the postmaster general is that correct? >> that's correct. >> would it be fair to say however that informally the general counsel of your organization has expressed for example to the committee staff of this committee some skepticism as to the legal
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reasoning behind the postmaster general announcement? >> i don't want to speculate informally on anything. one of the reasons the >> excuse me, general i am not asking you to speculate. did or did not such an informal conversation took place in the staff of this committee? >> one of the things we do is ask a lot of questions and i am sure they asked questions about the issues. >> certainly we would welcome your opinion when you are ready to render it there are many of us here who think it is an illegal act and this is a nation of laws and even the postmaster general of the united states has to follow law. but it's in your report and i think it is a relevant question and we would very much welcome your opinion before congress acts. climate change, general, what
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made you decide to add that this year? what about the science and or the potential consequences of climate change made you decide, and i applaud you for doing it that made you decide that it's an inclusion in this report? >> there were several things. one, we have issued at least three critical reports over the past period. one on the disaster aid limitation and one looking at the finding of the funding of the federal government by the climate change issues and finding there was no strategic direction of the climate change area. obviously we also looked at the number of disasters that had been occurring. the flood insurance program is already on the high-risk list and we were concerned about the gaps in the satellite coverage is and so we decided to take a broad look at these issues and also given the federal
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government precarious financial situation that it couldn't afford not to try to limit its fiscal exposure in the future in those areas, those are the factors that i consider. >> but as a sort of preface to all of that, there is a certain operating assumption that the science is fairly compelling. >> we think the intrusion from the national science academy of sciences and the global climate change research program and an important point here is we are not questioning what may or may not be causing the situation. we are saying science shows there is an issue and we need to do something about it. we are not getting into the policy areas of whether their needs to be changes and how we mitigate whatever might be causing this but we are -- we
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are saying we have a problem and we need to deal with it and try to limit -- >> i'm sure you are aware of the fact there are some even here in the congress who don't even go as far as you do, however who are still denying the science and denying there is a problem. let me ask in your analysis, risk analysis have you also looked at the military base especially the naval base implications? >> i think for example in virginia many of us are very worried that this he rise could jeopardize the largest naval base in the united states as well as the facilities in florida and possibly even south carolina. have you looked at in terms of the dollar percentages and the casing costs? reenforcing costs, whatever it may be to try to protect those facilities? >> we noted that defense department vulnerability in the report and we will plan to do more work on those issues that
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have gone forward in this area. stannic mr. chairman, thank you 29 of the committee would welcome that as well especially the dollars and the sense applications because i think some people may be very surprised at what we are looking at. saxby three mr. sherman. i think the gentleman. we now recognize you for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman and general, very much. i am going to harp again. being a health care provider i want to ask more about the drug shortages. do you think that your recommendations are sufficient to mitigate this problem? >> i believe so. >> just to reiterate the need to strengthen their program by assessing the resources systematically tracking data on the shortages concerning the availability of medically necessitated the drugs, the strategic parity and developing relevant result oriented
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measures. >> do you believe that the usda is part of the problem? >> they need to make changes. >> the need to make big changes i think part of our problem looking here at a drug stock affidavit as of yesterday we have got problems with liquid ibuprofen and problems -- problems with anesthetics this is critical because we are putting the patient in harm's way and physicians in harm's way we can then use particles and medications that have substantially more side effects and problems for patients. this is critical mass. it's not just pharmaceuticals, but also on our medical devices we have reached a saturation point where i would disagree with you. i do not think that what you have put out here and you're out lines are suitable for the reform. i think that we need to have a
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thorough reforms in regards to not only drug manufacturing but the fda's role and oversight. you look at -- and nouri report to site globalization. we don't control the vast majority of some of the products that go into the manufacturing of these drugs or medical devices and we are becoming problematic that we are dependent upon so many other countries to do that. would you agree with that? >> it's one of the reasons we are on the high-risk list is the globalization. stannic it seems to me like what we are doing with this report is we are treating the symptoms but we are not treating the disease. part of the disease process is the fda itself and it seems to me that what we need to do here is reform the fda. would you agree with that? >> i definitely think their needs to be changes. do we need legislation? >> i would be happy to provide recommendations for the record.
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>> one of the other things i did want to touch have to tell you this affidavit just came from tucson and from the northeast so it's not just specific to the urban or rural areas these are shortages that have to be at rest and i don't like -- i don't think that the hypothesis or the conclusions that you have come to our real. i think that there are worse shortages. just because we put out a free port doesn't mean that we have relegated. we've made some of the problems even worse for the gray market. now we understand what we take and where we increase the sales, so we have a huge problem here. to go back to my colleague, to give you an example of the federal properties. we just got back in regards to the state department looking at our embassies and in particular i want to highlight larocco. here we are spending over
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$150 million building a new embassy and we have yet to look at what the value and possibility of sale of our current embassy -- right there to me it seems like we are looking at properties. i am not a real-estate expert but it seems to me when we are making a transition like that we're looking at a neighbor of some art 60 to $80 million in assets that need to have some assets stand. do you know that they had to -- as of their about i would say is about 50% completed in that embassy? >> that's correct. estimate the have yet to have the current buildings in inventory of property that they had. i find that disdainful. this is a turnaround as we as $80 million we shouldn't be building unless we know that what we have is an inventory and make sure that we are selling. that is disrespectful to the
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american tax payer. i am just give you a new one example. it's my and rescinding we are building this for a billion dollars there. what other assets to we have? this is critical and i think that is what we have demanded of that to get so i think some of the things we really need to do is start looking at the process and make sure that we have clear examples and enforce those examples with the legislation or retaliatory oversight. then you are going to get compliance. >> i would like for the record, mr. tran and from an example of the drug shortages as of yesterday to be enclosed in the record. >> without objection. >> the gentleman's time has expired and recognize the gentleman from south carolina for five minutes. >> thank you, doctor. i want to ask about two areas. first, the weather satellite. i asked from time to time which is tough for a lawyer to understand the science.
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>> so can you help me understand how we got to this crisis and what an acceptable remedy would be? >> i'm going to ask our experts in this area to come up and he will give you a great explanation. >> congressman, this is an area that grew over the years. we had to put in place the poor urban and satellites. if you go back several years, there is a long history of the cost overrun technical problems mismanagement with the programs. what happened was the states kept getting pushed and what we did discuss the body in time of operational satellites. if we fast forward now currently we are in a situation where in the 2016 timeframe there is a satellite that is basically going to reach the end of its useful life and we are not
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launching until 2017. that is the best case situation that provides a 17 month gap in satellite coverage and depending on if that satellite lasts less than is expected or of there's any further delays that gap in the satellite coverage could actually be more. so, we are looking at anywhere from 17 to 53 month gap in satellite coverage. our recommendation has been to put in place contingency plans to address those gaps. >> what do you expect those contingency plans to include? >> a couple things. one, you can look at extending the the current life of the existing satellites, there's things you can currently do with that. there's the possibility of moving up the current dates. those are unrealistic in some ways, but there's possibilities if you look at the various schedules and then you look at the contingency plans that need to be put in place various things. you can use other government
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satellites as an option and other weather observations are an option but all of those of certain things that go with it, so for instance if you use the european satellites this changes to the ground stations so there are associated costs with all those different contingency plans. >> do you think there is a reasonable probability of the gap that would have significant consequences to us? right now there's a high probability of the gap that could be 17 months. >> thank you. >> general, last area my colleague from maryland very appropriately and commendably remembered the doctor from charleston south carolina who came and testified quite emotionally about having to choose between which of her pediatrics cancer patients she was the retreat because of the drug shortage.
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saddam, for the folks that may not be following this issue just watching from back home, how did we get in this circumstance, and with specificity for those that clamor with bye partisanship because it exists on this issue. >> but we would move heaven and earth tomorrow if they could to eliminate the shortage. so what legislatively or from an oversight perspective can we do to remedy the job shortage? >> the first step was taken in the last modernization act of last year which gave the authority to require the manufacturers to notify them and that was a part of the problem instead one in order for them to do something about it to the need to have adequate information to know about those issues, so that aspect of they can shape now. but the question is what are they going to do with that authority to turn it into action to try to provide adequate information. i will go back through the record as i mentioned to the
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congressman to provide additional recommendations on things that could be done in this area. we have an expert team they just don't happen to be here today. but we will provide you more specific suggestions. >> we would be grateful, because again i know that there is a desire all across this for action, and for those who desire work across the aisle, which i think includes all of us, this would be a very appropriate way, so we would be very anxious to see the recommendations and with that, i would yield back to the doctor. >> thank you the gentleman. i will be going to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. cartwright for five minutes, and i want to apologize to the gentleman from nevada. i didn't see you there so we will go next to you right after mr. cartwright. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized.
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>> thank you, mr. sherman. -- mr. chairman. mr. dodaro according to the united states global research program, the impact and the cost of weather disasters resulting from floods, droughts and other events such as tropical cyclones will increase in significance in what are considered these rare events that become more common and intense through the climate change. the federal government crop insurance have increased in the recent years rising from an average of $3.1 billion per year from fiscal year 2000 to 2006 for an average of 7.6 billion a year from fiscal year 2000 through 2012, and our projected to increase further. do we have an increase of the scale by which climate change
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will increase the federal fiscal exposure for the national flood insurance program and the federal crop insurance corporation? >> i don't have estimates of that regard, but i am concerned about the potential magnitude given what we have spent so far to respond to these issues. so we are going to be looking at the qualification issues if you will as we delve into this issue in the future. >> that leads to my next question. i suspect is the study needed to look at those issues further, sir? >> i believe so, but as with many of these areas, it would be difficult to come up with some areas, but i think that we can -- we have work underway in that area right now and we would be happy to brief you on that and provide the results when they are ready. >> second, the gao recommended
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in may of 2011 that the appropriate entities within the executive office of the president clearly establish federal strategic climate change priorities including the roles and the responsibilities of the key federal entities taking into consideration the full range of climate related activities. in 2009 the gao also recommended that the appropriate entities within the executive office develop a strategic plan to guide the nation's efforts to adapt to climate change. ..
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>> yeah, that's our main point. we, you know, they have the plans, but they're not being coordinated as well as they need to be. >> and do these plans amount to government-wide strategic plan at this point? >> not in our view. and that's our main, one of our main recommendations. and we plan to work with the executive office of the president and the office of science, technology and policy to help underscore what needs to be done. >> well, i thank you for that answer, and i want to say that's why i will be work withing with the gao to -- working with the gao to address two specific concerns they've highlighted in this report. first, i'll be working with the gao to find the best possible way to coordinate the various adaptation reports required by the executive order and to come up with a national strategic plan to prepare for this grave threat. so i thank you for your efforts
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here today, mr. chairman, i yield back my remaining time. >> i thank the gentleman and, again, thank you for your patience. i recognize the gentleman from nevada for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you, general. i want to commend you and your team for what is a very good blueprint for the critical challenges that are facing our federal agencies and not only that you identify the high risk areas, but you also outline what needs to be done. and i would point out what needs to be done by congress in large part to move some of these issues forward. my focus i'd like to turn to is transportation. the gao report lists funding for the nation's surface transportation system as an area of high risk for the government,
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and the moving ahead for progress in the 21st century act -- which was enacted last year -- provides some certainty for states. but it also reduces overall funding for highways relative to fiscal year 2010, and it will -- twfn, and it will nod provide the funding that we know we need to bring our infrastructure to a state of good repair overall. i'm from nevada, and our unemployment rate is still stubbornly high. our number two industry has been the construction industry, and in large part my focus is on how we can create jobs and get our economy moving while at the same time investing in critical infrastructure needs. so the report indicates that of the 18.4 cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline that was enacted in
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1993, it's only worth about 11.5 cents today. the report goes on to note that the cbo has estimated that it will take $110 billion in additional revenues to maintain current levels of spending plus inflation through 2022. so in short, in the short term, are there any realistic alternatives to the gas tax to fund transportation that would maintain the user-pays principles that have been at the heart of transportation funding in the past? >> yeah. i'm going to ask -- i'll start out and, first -- but, phil, come please. phil is our transportation expert, and i'll let him talk. in the mean -- unfortunately, the approach that's been used in the last several years is to use general fund appropriations in order to supplement the lack of
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funds from the highway trust fund to be able to do that. that's not a long-term answer to the situation particularly given the federal government's deficit and debt issues. so other things need to be looked at. but that's the main reason it's on the list, is in order to try to get to congress to come to grips with the financing structures there. but let me have phil elaborate, congressman. >> we've done some additional work, there's a program that expanded called fifia which is a loan program that helps incentivize private investment in infrastructure. we've also completed some p recent work that talks about other options for collecting revenue that would supplement the gas tax as well but those, obviously, involve some policy trade-offs. there are, there are options there that you correctly point out what some of limitations of the gas tax are. >> so if i could, mr. chairman, just follow up. so with the provision that requires states to spend a specified portion of their allocations, their annual
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allocations on the improvement of of bridges and interstate pavement, should -- what happens if the conditions fall below those standards? and are there considerations given to states to use other types of funding sources to make up the gap? >> it's an interesting question. this was just enacted with map 21, so d.o.t. is still working with the states to set some of those targets on what the processes would be. but our understanding with the legislative fix that was put in with map 21, states would need to ted candidate money to some of these -- dedicate money to some of these national products. >> can they back fill with any additional funding outside? >> i would have to get back to you for the record to see how they're rolling this out. >> okay. and just to close on the passenger rail investment improvement act of 2008, again, this is a critical opportunity for our need to connect las
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vegas and los angeles, what risks has gao identified with this program, and what happens if continued federal investment is not available to achieve the goals? >> >> in the high risk or the high-speed rail we actually have had, we have some work ongoing now, but in recent testimony one of my colleagues gave, we identified some of the problems with some of the cost estimates that are made available seeking federal funding, so we're looking at ways that some of those could be improved. so decision makers would have better information. the other thing, though, is in many cases high-speed rail's quite expensive, and so, for example, in the california high-speed rail situation their proposal now is calling for a fairly large federal investment, about $38 billion. so, and then also some private funds. so a real challenge in that area is getting the money to build these and then actually implementing them and carrying them forward. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i thank the gentleman. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from north carolina,
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mr. meadows, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for coming to share your perspective today. i want to take a little bit broader brush approach as we start to look at this. the report highlights some of the needs for a performance matrix, as you would put it. and so in what way can we look at departments and agencies providing information so that we as congress can make a better decision in terms of tying that to the budget or appropriations, and what role do you see omb playing in that, if any? >> we have -- [inaudible] we have been advocating for a number of years a systematic approach, as you mention, the measuring performance against established goals in the federal government. there was legislation passed in 1993, the modernization act, and that was passed in 2010. and it's really important, to
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your point, because agencies are supposed to consult with the congress, establish goals and measures for all federal programs and activities, and then to provide regular progress reports gps those goals. -- against those goals. so that process now is in its early stages of getting established. we have a role in evaluating whether or not the agencies are doing that. omb has the responsibility for lead in that area, and it's not only goals for individual agencies and departments, but it's cross-cutting goals in a number of areas as well where multiple agencies provide funding to support an overall government-wide goal. so there is an established mechanism to do it, but it has to be done properly and well. i'm pleased to see that the law now requires more consultation with the congress, and we're going to make sure that that actually is taking place. >> how can you make sure that that takes place? because, you know, we're in the land of promises here -- >> right. >> -- that says we're going to have this plan and,
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ultimately -- >> right. >> -- this is going to lead to a more effective and accountable government. and yet here we are without that. >> right. no, well, we're going to follow through on the facts to see what the agencies have to tell us exactly who they've consulted with, and the law requires them to not only say that, but what they've done with the advice that they've received from the congress. now, we're going to make sure that works, we're going to talk to members of congress and their staffs, and i'd ask chris mihm's our expert in this area, if he wants to elaborate a little further. but we're doing work in that area. i'm going to make sure it's done. >> all right. >> as the comptroller general mentioned, sir, there are requirements, statutory requirements for more robust and continuing consul talkings on the part of agencies with the congress and other key stakeholders. one of the things we've also been making offers to do working with the committee staff here and on the senate side is to work with members of congress to help them extract that information from agencies.
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that is, to have the -- not just have it be on the demand, or allow the agencies to come up, but have congress start saying we're ready for the consultation, we want to start talking to you about where you are in your goals and your performance and your strategic goals. and so we remain available to work with you and your office and your colleagues on those issues. >> all right. and while you're still there, let's look at this. let's talk about this performance matrix and as it comes back to maybe fragmentation, you know, as was highlighted. so you've got 45 programs across nine different agencies as you had in your testimony. how do you put together a performance matrix without people pointing the finger at this agency or that agency didn't meet our overall goal when we haven't consolidated under one head? >> the, well, the point that you're raising, sir, was exactly one of the two major reasons that congress had in mind when they passed the modernization act. >> sure. >> we had had requirements for many years to do strategic and
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annual planning, that was all agency-based, and what congress is looking for with the modernization act is a more integrated and cross-cutting perspective. so it requires omb on behalf of the president to have some government-wide cross-cutting goals, but also agencies in their goals to identify who else are, what other agencies are involved in the delivery of products and services that are related to the result that they're trying to achieve. one of the things that we've been doing, we'll have a report coming out on this shortly, is taking a sample of the goals the agencies have established and begin to start looking at those and seeing have they identified relevant partners, um, that we had otherwise identified as part of our work on overlapping duplication or that the inspectors general had identified and following up and saying, hey, you seem to have missed someone that's key to your success. why is that and how are you coordinating with them to make sure we don't have the overlapping duplication that you're talking about. >> you're hitting on a very important point, and there really is no systematic way that this has been done in the past
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and really needs -- this needs to work if we're going to deal with this in a timely way. >> and so is that something that you take the lead on? who takes the lead on that? >> omb has the responsibility to implement the law, we have the responsibility to make sure that they're doing it effectively, providing oversight on behalf of the congress. >> okay. thank you very much. yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. the chair now recognizes the gentlelady from california, mrs. sphere. >> mr. chairman, thank you. and, mr. general, let me say that i once again am deeply grateful for the work you and your staff does on behalf of the american people. mr. chairman, this really should be our bible in this committee. we should take every section of this report, and in subcommittees and in full committees go through it and save the taxpayers of this country money. by your own earlier testimony, you said there's tens of billions of dollars?
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are you in a position to tell us how much would be saved by each of the recommendations that you have made? >> it would be hard to give you a precise estimate, but, i mean, just for example in the medicare program alone there are latest estimates of $44 billion of improper payments, so driving that down will sawf money. we've made -- will save money. we've made recommendations that this pilot program they have in medicare advantage be canceled that, if timely action had been taken there, that was $8.3 billion -- >> so if we were to take action this year to cancel that program and just do the bonus payments as you recommend -- >> right. >> -- how much would we save? >> i believe -- don't hold me to the estimate, but it's between two and three billion. >> all right. there's $2-$3 billion, mr. chairman, that if this committee gets serious about really taking the recommendations of the auditor general, we would be in a position to really say we're
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saving people money in this country. i also noted that under the health care area you looked at self-referral. it continues to be a problem where physicians that own interest in a high advanced imaging center tend to refer more, and the figure was hundreds of millions of dollars, if i'm not -- >> yeah. i don't have it off the top of my head. i can provide it for the record, but it was a significant amount of money and a high percentage. >> so do you ever get frustrated that you make all these recommendations, and years go by and nothing happens? >> actually, believe it or not, 80% of our recommendations are implemented over a four-year period of time, and that's been pretty consistent over time. we keep coming up with new recommendations. for example, we in the past at fha we asked congress to prohibit its seller finance down payment assistance, and that saved over $10 billion -- >> all right. okay. so there is some good news.
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>> right. >> let me move on to another topic, department of defense. >> uh-huh. >> the air force just canceled a ecss contract that was already, we had already spent a billion dollars on. and this is a contract that i've asked the committee the to explore -- committee to explore in kind of a postmortem to find out what went wrong. there was an inspector general report that recommended that they should cut it off. we didn't do it. at some point we in congress have to take responsibility for not acting. now, there is another report, i believe, computer science corporation is the primary contractor for ecss project, has also been awarded a contract for another enterprise resource planning system called the lmp, just another acronym, but it's for logistics modernization program, and it's intended to streamline the army's inventory of weapons systems. having said that, thement inner
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general for auditing -- the inspector general for auditing within dod has recommended they not spend any more additional money on top of the $1.1 billion spent on the program back in 2009. so what did we do? we continue to spend money. it now is $4 billion over budget and 12.5 years behind schedule. when do we stop and say it's enough? when do we stop contracting with the same contractors that are over budget, that don't do the job and, you know, go back to square one? how would you address that issue? >> well, first of all, in the rules a contractor's past performance is supposed to be considered in making -- >> well, obviously, not here. >> well, there are timing issues in terms of when the different contracts would have been let, who knew what where, and importantly within the department of defense, who's sharing information acrses the department to insure -- across the department to insure doesn't happen. you know, in the past we've looked at whether or not people
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were on the debarred list were getting contracts, and we found out in some cases agencies didn't check that list before they went ahead and made procurement decisions. contracting has been on our high-risk list for a long time. the procurement process doesn't always work effectively, and there are high dollar consequences to it. i would welcome congressional oversight and more attention to these areas particularly in the department of defense where we spend most of this contracting money. >> if we made a request of you to do a postmortem on the ecss program, would you be able to do that? >> yes. >> all right, thank you. >> i thank the gentlelady. the chair will i now recognize himself for five minutes for a line of questioning. mr. dodaro, i would like to focus a little bit on health care. medicare and medicaid are both perpetually on the high-risk list, medicare for two decades,
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medicaid for a decade. together they're responsible for over 58% of all government improper payments in fiscal year 2012. what recommendation does gao make about improving their program integrity and stopping improper payments? >> well, a number of recommendations we've made. in almost every phase of their process, for example, enrolling providers, we need to keep bad actors out of the system initially. we've made recommendations that there be surety bonds put up by the providers before they're enrolled in the programs, and yet that hasn't taken place yet. we think that's important so that the federal government, if there is a problem, can get the money back. we've recommended that there be more analytical procedures in place, data analytics, to spot trends in fraud in the provider area up front. they've moved it forward on that area, but they haven't linked it to the palm system yet so that -- to the payment system yet so that if they do find a
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potential problem, they don't stop the payments until they sort through the problem. then before -- once you get providers in making the payments, doing a good review before you make the payments in the first place. this presense and detection -- prevention and detection area before you make the payments really needs a lot more attention, and so we've made a lot of suggestions there on how to improve the prepayment controls; that they're not standardizing the edits across the providers, the contractors that make the payments. then there's after the payments are made making sure that there's post look at this area. we've made recommendations there. and then when we find that there is an improper payment that's been there, having recovery auditing go in and recoup the money back. so at every level in the process there's a need for reform. we've made many recommendations. i can provide the details for the record, but this is an area that we have a high degree of attention on and has a lot of potential payback. >> well, as we should with that, that number's pretty alarming.
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would you agree there's no future threat to the solvency of our country greater than health care? >> health care's the primary driver of our projected deficits. >> with okay. the patient protection affordable care act establishes requirement for medicare and medicaid services to improve the integrity. the high-risk list implements that cms should implement some of the requirements to improve this integrity. why hasn't cms done this? >> i can provide some answers for the record. depends on which area you're talking about. the process over there, in my opinion, takes longer than it needs to to implement these changes. >> okay. >> but i can provide more specifics. >> okay. i would appreciate that considering the, you know, 20 years on the high-risk list. i think that we certainly need to target that. um, with the health care bill
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just really eight months away, implementation, the irs has a large role in implementing the health care bill and the insurance exchanges which should be in place in less than eight months. what impact will the irs' system modernization problems have on health care delivery in the united states? >> let me ask chris. he'll come to the table to talk about that. >> because, you know, we had a hearing on this in the last congress, and we know that the irs was really, frankly, not ready for all that is going to be required of them. there's going to be incredible interaction between future patients and the irs, lots of reporting that has to go on whether you've moved, whether you have a child, whether there's a divorce, a death, etc., constant communication is required, and i think we established the wait time for someone to call the irs to be, like, 55 minutes. so can you comment on where we're going to be in eight months as a physician and someone who talks to a lot of physicians, we're not terribly
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optimistic that this is shovel ready. >> there's a couple of issues that you're raising there, of course, sir, one is just on the wait time. and we've seen that, of course, during the filing season that there was just -- the irs just in this last year didn't come close to meeting its goals in terms of how many people were able to get through, and, you know, did they get busy signals or dropped calls and all the rest. we've made some recommendations to them just on the filing season aspect that they -- which has implications for what you're talking about -- they need to do a much better job in thinking in a broad, strategic sense across the various ways that they interact with the public being walk-in centers, correspondence, telephone calls, information that individuals, that they can get through the web and the web is, obviously, over the long term the way to go. >> is it realistic to believe they can be even close to ready in eight months? >> we've done a number of engagements, a number of reports that have looked at where they are on that and in particular
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how their infrastructure, their governance infrastructure and risk management is looking. i would agree with your point that they have some major risks that they're going to have to be able to manage in order to effectively deliver this because they have, obviously, the implementation or their responsibilities for implementation of the affordable care act, they have a very difficult filing season that's, you know, ahead of them, they have other challenges that irs faces, and so it's going to be quite a difficult challenge for them. it's something that we continue to monitor on behalf of the congress. >> and as you know, there's still challenges out there regarding federal and state exchanges with regard to the irs in terms of that ruling. that has also been the subject of a hearing that we'll revisit. i see my time has expired. seeing no other democratic witnesses, i will now yield five minutes to my good friend and colleague from tennessee, mr. duncan. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i don't have any questions, but i did want to say a couple things. first of all, i agree with the
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gentlewoman from california that this is a very important subject, and i hope the gao stays on top of this and continues to issue these reports, and i appreciate your work, mr. dodaro. and that of your staff. and i agree with the gentleman from pennsylvania. i also have concern about the national flood insurance program because i read recently that 15 of the largest insurance companies are making a real killing off of that program. i think that's something that we need to look into. but when i read the committee memo, it mentions as the biggest, of course, programs medicare and medicaid and the department of defense. and i was here earlier this morning for the discussion on the new york medicaid program, and they said there were 15 billion in improper payments just in that one program, the new york medicaid program, and that there was one contract paying a $5,000 daily rate for
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institutionalized people. i can tell you almost every federal contract in every federal department and agency is some sort of sweetheart, insider-type dial -- deal. and i would bet that that contract certainly was, and the department -- and we now spend according to some of the information we were given this morning $990 billion on the two programs, medicare and medicaid, put together. that's more money than almost all the other countries in the world spend total in their complete budgets put together. and these costs are just unbelievable. people say we can't cut medicare and so forth, well, i don't want to cut any poor person out of the medicare and medicaid, but i'll tell you this, there's a lot of people and companies
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getting ridiculously rich off of medicare and medicaid, and some of those payments need to be and some of those contracts need to be looked into. and then the department of defense, all those defense contractors, they hire all the retired admirals and generals. and then they come back to the offices that they ran, and they get contracts. and it seems to me that's rampant in medicare, medicaid, department of defense and throughout the federal government that they hire federal employees who take, who retire at a fairly young age on average, and then they go back, and they get these contracts from the departments or the agencies that they worked for. and it's crooked, it ought to be against the law, and i hope that in future reports you'll point to some things like that out too, mr. dodaro. >> which thank you very much -- thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> i thank the gentleman. and, mr. dodaro, thank you very
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much for taking time out of your busy schedule today. oh, and i'm sorry, i yield to the ranking member for a statement. >> i just want to, um, just as we close, again, i want to thank you and your staff for your excellent report. i want to just say to mr. duncan who just spoke? mr. duncan? is. >> yes. >> he's, he -- what he said just so important. um, we, you know, we talk about waste, fraud and abuse, and sometimes i think we, you know, we kind of talk about it as if, um, it's just a lightweight thing. but as mr. duncan pointed out, this is serious stuff. and when we talk about trying to figure out how we save money and all that, you know, i just want you -- you all do a great job, but i want you to continue to try to show us how we can be more effective and efficient in
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rooting out some of this waste, fraud and abuse. because it's real. i think we kind of just say it, and, you know, and a loot of times we're -- a lot of times we're not really digging deep to get to it. it may call for us just highlighting just very bad actors, it may call for us making sure that things get referred to the proper authorities like justice or whatever. of but we have got to get to this because if we've got the kind of money that he was just talking about just going out the door and some folk getting rich but at the same time the money not going to the very folk that we intend it to go to, it just seems like, you know, maybe we need to zero in on, okay now, how do we go from research to truly being effective and efficient in making that research have some, you know, bear some fruitsome there's nothing i hate more than research that gets placed on a
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shelf only to be dusted off and put in a microwave five years later or ten years later and rish sured, and the can be reissued, and the problem just keeps going on and on and on. i just hope, you know, i know your staff is very focused, i know they want to make sure they do the right thing. and, again, i just want you all to do everything in your power to help us be even more effective and efficient than we are. all right? >> would the gentleman yield? >> of course. >> i just want to associate my remarks with those of yours and those of mr. duncan's. you know, there were very few members here today. this should be a mandatory meeting for every member of this committee. because this particular report of high-risk problems in the u.s. government should be something that every member of this committee is familiar with, and it should be the road map for much of the work that we do
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in our subcommittees. and i know you're serious about making some inroads in terms of getting rid of the fraud and abuse. i know that the general is and all the staff that works with him. we have got to work together to resolve this, because otherwise it's just all cheap talk. i yield back. >> well, i must say and the credit -- mr. chairman, i'll just take 30 more seconds -- to chairman issa this morning in our press conference. he recommitted to making sure that we do those things that we're talking about so that we could be more effective and efficient. and that's why i was just saying to you, mr. dodaro, if there are things that you can help us with so that we can -- i know you've got your recommendations and whatever. >> are right. >> but, again, you know, one of the things i worry about is that when i look back on my tenure as a congressman, i don't want to look back with regret. that i failed to do the things that i could have done to help my constituents.
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and so sometimes maybe we need help. maybe we need tools. maybe we need advice. and if you, if your staff -- maybe we need a new era of how to really take these reports and bring life to them. because, you know, those wonderful people, great government servants sitting behind you many of whom -- probably all of whom could be making more money doing other things -- but they come to government service to feed their souls. to feed their souls. and they come to make a difference. and i want them in feeding their souls to be effective too. i don't want them to say, well, you know, we gave a report, and it got placed on a shelf, and, you know, it never went anywhere. and so at some time, at some point then their morale goes down. and that -- and, i mean, again, i mean, it's just logical. so, again, i want to the thank
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you. but you were about to say something, and then i'm finished, mr. chairman. thank you very much. >> i would just like to make a couple points in regard to your comments, mr. cummings. number one, the high-risk program will remain a top priority as long as i'm comptroller general. my term goes to 2025. i made a commitment in my confirmation hearing that this would be a high priority. it will remain so. second point, i would say one of the things that could be done that this committee could talk about is assigning some of the high-risk areas either the subcommittees or individual members on the committee so that they can become well versed and deep in these issues, and we could work with them. that's been done in the past, and there was a high-risk caucus at one point in the congress when we first started the programs, and it had some good effect. and they could work, put more pressure on the agencies or understand the issues deeper. so i would say do that. third point, my last point, is that you can do some things to
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help us. we are at our lowest staffing level since 1935. now, obviously, the federal government is in a much different position now than it was in 1935. we need some help. not a lot. we return $105 for every dollar spent on gao this past year. we had more than $55 billion in documented financial benefits as a result of implementing our relations. over the last decade, that comes to about a half a trillion dollars. so we think we're a good investment, but we need some help. and so we'd appreciate whatever this committee could do. so thank you very much. it's been a privilege to be here today, and you have our commitment that myself and all the dedicated and talented people at the gao are at your disposal to make headway in making government more efficient and effective for the benefit of the american people. >> i thank you for that. i thank the ranking member and, certainly, thank ms. speier for
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her comment, and in the spirit of smartization, i'll add i agree this is an important issue as we look at our out-of-control debt, deficit and spending problems. we hear calls for revenue increases, and for the american people watching in the hearing and listening to the high-risk list and how long things have been on the high-risk list, i think they would be very discouraged if not disgusted that we're not doing better, and i think it would be a shame to ask the american people for another dime of revenue until we start to solve these problems. so in that spirit, i'm looking forward to working with my colleagues in addressing these important issues. so, again, i will thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule as well as your staff to appear before us today, and the committee stands adjourned.
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> president obama says essential government workers could lose their jobs if
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congress fails to head off those automatic, across-the-board spending cuts. the cut, called sequester, are due to take effect on march 1st. the president says republicans have a choice to make. here's a brief look. >> so now republicans in congress face a simple choice; are they willing to compromise to protect vital investments in education and health care and national security and all the jobs that depend on them, or would they rather put hundreds of thousands and our entire economy at risk just to protect a few special interest tax loopholes that benefit only the wealthiest americans and biggest corporations? that's the choice. are you willing to see a bunch of first responders lose their job because you want to protect some special interest tax loophole? are you handgun to have teachers laid off -- have teachers laid off or kids not have access to head start or deeper cuts in student loan programs just
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because you want to protect a special tax interest loophole that the vast majority of americans don't benefit from? that's the choice. that's the question. >> the top house republican, speaker john boehner, says the revenue debate is now closed. in a statement, speaker boehner says: >> at 6:30 eastern we'll be live wh former cia director michael hayden. he's expected to touch on preventing cyber attacks and threats from terrorists and rogue nations. mr. hayden's speaking at george washington university here in washington, d.c., and again, that begins at 6:30 eastern. and with the u.s. senate on
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break this week, we're featuring some of booktv's weekend programs in prime time here on c-span2. p tonight former iraq and afghanistan generals. it starts at 8 eastern with retired general. c-span:ly mcchrystal and then fred kaplan on retired general david petraeus. also jeffrey engel on a collection of essays on the gulf war. >> the communism of china, basically, is communism in name only these days, and it preserved the power of the members of the communist part. but they, basically, threw most ideology aside when sue ping opened the country up, and it's now become a capitalist haven. you know, communism now in china, they talk at great length at these party congresses about marxist leninism, etc., but as i said, it's all about preserving the party's power economically as the country continues to grow because they threw aside most vestiges of communism decades ago. in north korea, it's all about
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preserving the power of the military and the kim dynasty as you have there. and, again, it really has nothing to do with, i think, what karl marx envisioned as communism years back. someone could do a book when it diverged into something different than the communism that appear ad in europe and the eastern european countries. that's an absolutely fascinating split that occurred. >> keith richburg on 34 years of reporting and insights from around the world, sunday at 8 on c-span's "q&a." >> up next, facebook co-founder chris hughes discussing digital journalism and trends in social media. he's now a publisher and editor-in-chief of the new republic. this hourlong event is hosted by harvard's kennedy school on public policy. [inaudible conversations]
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>> hello, i'm alex jones, and we are very glad to have you all with us today. and it is my particular pleasure to welcome chris hughes to the ranks of the ink-stained wretches of this world which he may be a digital guy, but he is now, because of the new republic, entered a world that's also one steeped in tradition. today's interview and conversation is going to be recorded by c-span, so i would ask you to be mindful of that when you come down to ask questions later, those of you who are interested, you come to these two mics. the hash tag for today if you are following on twitter is chris hughes. i don't think i really need to
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introduce chris hughes very much to this group, obviously. he is someone who is from a southerner from hickory, north carolina, who got himself to harvard and by a set of fortuitous circumstances, managed to be the roommate of mark zuckerberg at a time of great historic importance in the creation of facebook. this happened in the his sophomore year, and he told me just a moment ago that he was taking five classes both semesters while that was going on and still managed to graduate with a magna a couple of years later. facebook, of course, is something that has changed the world. mark zuckerberg was the fourth, you were the fifth, as i understand it. >> one, two, three were test accounts. >> test accounts, there you are. but the thing is chris hughes did something counterintuitive all the way along the line.
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first of all, he didn't -- he didn't leave harvard, he finished with a magna. he then went to work for facebook, he did work there, but left facebook in 2007 in order to work for the barack obama campaign. that was something that was anything but a sure thing then, and it was something, though, that was consistent with the kinds of things that chris hughes has been talking about then and ever since which was trying to live a life that was going to to have a genuine impa. a direct, positive impact on the world, i think are the words you've used. less than a year ago he purchased control, dominant control of a venerable publication, the new republic, that was also in failing health and has in the months since made an awful lot of dust and caused an awful lot of interest because he has not only bought it, made himself publisher and editor-in-chief, but he is
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actively engaged in reshaping it and has clear ambitions to make the new republic something that will be among the most influential and the most important idea magazines in the country. he is serious about high-quality journalism, that is the thing that he talks about again. but his focus is not just about digital technology. he has taken this venerable institution and this venerable profession, journalism, and is looking at them, you know, informed by his deep knowledge of digital technology in the digital world but also with a different set of values that are more traditional. it is my great pleasure, chris, to welcome you here. his subject is the changing media land scape: smart news in an age of social media. we're glad to have you. [applause] >> thank you. thank you.
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thank you, guys. thank you. thank you for having me. it's particularly nice to be back across the street from kirkland house which is where we started facebook, actually, nine years ago yesterday. it was the anniversary, february 4th of 2004 is when we opened it up to a few dozen people at harvard, and the next morning we woke up, and it was -- there were hundreds of people on it already. so it's nice to be back in cambridge particularly right now. so i thought i would talk a little bit, for maybe 15 minutes or so, give you some context on, um, what i'm doing, what we're doing at the new republic, talk about how we sort of see the digital media landscape in 2013 and then open it up for questions and, hopefully, get a good dialogue going. um, so i think the first question that people -- well, the first question that people ask me all the time is why in the world would someone like you
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buy this 100-year-old media institution like the new republic? in an age when, you know, the conventional wisdom is that print is dying, that serious journalism is under threat, why would you be crazy enough to take this on? it's got to be either a vanity project or i've got to have some political axe to grind or, um, some ulterior motive. other people just look at me like i'm plain crazy. [laughter] but the truth of it is that i bought the new republic because i believe in the power of great writing to shape how we see the world. and that sounds incredibly idealistic, and it is. and it's lofty, but i'm not ashamed of it, and i think that the people that we have at the new republic who are embarking on this project now are a pretty idealistic group. in a lot of ways, though, we're
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following in the footsteps of the founders of the new republic 100 years ago. if you go back and look at what they were writing in 1914 when the magazine was starting, they too were a pretty idealistic group. they were writing and starting the magazine at a time of enormous transition just as war was breaking out in europe. and they, too, brought a sense of hopefulness and idealism to their project. herbert crowley who was the founding editor was quoted as saying he saw its purpose to start little insurrections in the realms of our readers' convictions. and it's one of my favorite quotes from the archives because a century later, i think we're following in his same footsteps. so what does that mean, um, what does that mean for us? the 21st century is clearly different from the environment that they started in a hundred years ago, but our core editorial focus is to challenge our readers' assumptionings.
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assumptionings. and from one perspective might say doesn't all media do that. and i think particularly in 2013 we're in an environment where it does not. on one end of the spectrum we have what i call or sort of -- where newspapers used to be the dominant news delivery method, but it's grown, it's sort of the headline end of the spectrum. so it's now, of course, "the new york times," but also the huffington post, the daily beast, you know, there's a whole string of news sites which give you information about what happened yesterday. it's,, it tends to be headline-driven, it's part of my media digest every day, it's part of everyone's media digest. on the other end of the spectrum, at least historically, there have been magazines which, um, particularly in today's age have been thought of as being
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largely about story telling. you think of things like the new york times magazine or the new yorker or other really venerable -- new york review books -- other really venerable publications which, um, take time to read, take context and are for a pretty, a pretty patient and educated audience. for us we're trying to position ourselves in the space in between these two poles. the goal at the new republic is to do great writing, the type of writing which is as good if not better than some of the magazines that have made their name by doing great writing, but to do it about important and timely topics that, that our readers want to know about. there's a level of urgency to the type of journalism that we want to do, and for every single piece we publish editorially, we
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ask ourselves why is this important. we don't want to just tell stories, and we don't think that most sort of modern consumers of news just want stories for the sake of stories. the great writing is an important entree in, but the news has to be about -- it has to be meaty, it has to be about something that matters. in the past year, we've done a lot of research on this point, qualitative research and quantitative research, and have found that this is how, this is what readers say that they want today. they want great writing, they want an entree into big ideas, but they want it to be highly relevant to the top you cans that are -- the topics that are top of mind. as part of our strategic priority, though, as part of our strategic priorities, it's not just content that is enough for us. one of the things that i want the new republic to do and i think we've started doing this
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as of our relaunch in the past couple weeks, but it's to build the type of technology that adapts to how consumers are reading and consuming content today. and this is going to be a constant, ongoing project. it's not like we do it once, and we put a redesign out there, and can then we're all done. simply because how many devices exist, how many different ways of consuming content there are in 2013. but we've tried to adapt to how people are reading. so what does that mean? it means that while we still have a print edition, the vast majority of people interface with the new republic digitally first. we have two million monthly uniques, and even before we redesigned our web site, over 20% of those folks were coming to us from mobile devices. so we've built now an html5 web product which without geeking out a little bit, too much, is responsive to the browser that you're using. so it's the same, you're using the same content management system and the same things on the back end, but when a reader
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goes to it, we know if you're reading on your iphone, android device, if you're on an ipad or if you're on your computer and immediately change screen resolution, size to adapt to that experience. we've also added a lot of small features which, um, came -- some of them came out of what we felt like we wanted as a team in reading and some of it came out of the conversations and research that we did. we have, um, features that do cross-device syncs. so if you start reading a 2,000-word piece at lunch, you can pick back up where you left off on your phone on your commute home. or if you start reading something over the weekend and you want to read it back at work, we know where you were, we have a bookmark, and we can take you right back to it. we have audio versions of all of our content so that, again, if you're commuting, on a treadmill or just want to play it in the background while you're at your desk, you can listen to it be read the to you.
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we have an ipad app, we have a long laundry list. but the point is from a technology perspective, we're not just writing content, putting it on a web site and then calling it a day. we're writing the content, putting it on the web site, trying to understand and go to our readers where they're reading it and then, importantly, have our editorial staff continue to engage in the conversations that are happening after their content is originally published. in our new web site, we have something called our marginalia which serves a couple purposes. one is you can do footnotes and notes which is something that a lot of our writing really, a lot of our writers have lots of ideas that don't make it into the text or might break up how the piece is written, so they can now footnote things and add, add little comments in the marginalia. but it's also a place where we can continue to cure rate the social conversations that are happening after a piece is published.
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the old model would be -- i would say for a journalist would have been to write a piece, file it at a certain time, it comes out in the newspaper the next day, and you're done. the perspective now, you write a piece, post it on the web, and not only are journalists responsible for promoting it, but they're also responsible for engaging in a dialogue with people on twitter and facebook, people who hate it and people who love it. and we want to curate those conversations, too, so, you know, if we have a piece that makes it onto jon stewart, as it did last week, that's in the marginalia alongside with a comment somebody saying this is completely wrong, okay? missed the whole point here. which is, which is an important dynamic. because the conversation that continues after the piece is where i think a lot of the impact can happen. so in all this there's sort of two major object -- not
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objections, but questions about our work and whether or not it can be successful, trying to take this serious journalism and adapting it to the digital age. the first is, um, that in the age of twitter and facebook are people really seriously interested in the reading quality journalism? um, and this is one of my favorite questions because i feel like, um, my own background in the world of social media hits up against the world of serious journalism all the time. and what i say and what we see in our data is that social media is not actually competing with the attention spans of people reading longer pieces or -- doesn't necessarily need to be longer or, more substantive quality journalism. in fact, more often than not it's enabling that to happen increasingly. for us at the new republic, before social media we would have had to have relied on just
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our brand to have people come in and type new into their browser or into google which as much as i would love that everyone is like, you know, bookmarking us and constantly coming to our home page, a lot of times it's just not realistic. whereas with social media because we enable the people who are reading our stuff to share it and to attract a larger and larger following, it means that we've been able to bring in a lot younger of a demographic, a lot of readers that had not known the brand before but who are excited and who are interested in reading it. over 20% of our traffic is now coming from, um, twitter and facebook and readit, and that's about double what it was a year ago. and part of that, i think, is our social media strategy, but to be honest with you, i think a lot of that is just the evolving nature of the internet and the way that people discover, discover our don't. our content. another data point on this is
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that pew has been doing some incredibly great research on reading and serious content in the digital age. and one of my favorite studies to cite because i think it's, because it's so mind blowing came out in the fall, and they specifically were looking at reading amongst people who were 16-30. and what they found was that people in that age demographic were actually reading as many if not slightly more -- statistically at least as many books as they had in the past. so reading books was not down amongst that demographic. however, you were just as likely to have read it on your mobile phone as you were on print. a little wrinkle there. i think print may have been a little higher, but the mobile phone was high or than an ipad, higher than any type of tablet and higher than any of
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the methods you would assume people are moving to for e-books which i they it's just a real fascinating social trend, but it's also something that reminds me how quickly the digital world is moving, that there are, a whole sort of swath of people who are reading full-on books on their phones while they're waiting in line or in bed or wherever they maybe. and that's a e key way that they're consuming this long-form type of content. and yet they're consuming it at the same rates they have of historically. it's the reason that, you know, one of the things we've really done is mobilize this approach to make it as easy as possible to read on a phone. even though it seems counterintuitive, who would want to read a 2,000-word piece on the phone, evidence is showing there's more and more that are interested. the second skeptical point of view, um, is around our ability to monetize and to be a
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successful business. and on this one i wish i could even pretend like we had all the answers. [laughter] we have some hypotheses that we're testing, um, but it's going to take some time to know if our hypotheses are even right. and i think it requires a certain amount of patience on these questions. the way that we are thinking about it is -- or that i think about it in particular is outside of a few highly-professionalized verticals, particularly things like finance or in some cases sports or some very clear verticals, people are not generally willing to pay for access to content in a digital, in a doublingal environment. digital environment. but i think they are interested in supporting brands that they believe in, and i think that they're interested and still willing to pay for experiences.
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um, and i think experiences are qualitatively different than access. so to be a little bit more precise about this, i think the old model used to be you give -- at least for the new republic, the old model used to be you give us $35, and we give you 20 issues of print. that worked for a very long time until the web, until all the business models were disresulted. now our model -- disresulted. now to our model is you give us $35 and you get print, but you also get what you call our experiencial products. in the digital column, it's all the things i was talking about before -- audio, digital premium, unlimited access, commenting, and there's several other things on that list -- and then you get access to subscriber-only events which we are doing at least once a month in major cities and also in some secondary markets like, you
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know, ann arbor or austin or places where there's a lot of people who are interested in the type of journalism that we do. whether or not the experience cial products will be enough is an open question, but it's certainly part of a trend where from an editorial perspective the journalists are not just researching and writing, they're researching, writing, promoting, engaging in dialogue and then also being important participants in events be in interacting with their readers. i think other brands in our field, um, have moved on to caf├ęs, to retail, particularly monocle. i think upwards of 20% of their revenue comes from their retail -- their stores which they have a dozen, couple dozen of across the world. and there's, you know, still other ideas. i think that, i think that from my perspective the era when there were sizable profits in
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this industry is over. i think it was pretty fast in the second part of the 20th century. and we're now having to adapt to a different kind of business. it's a double bottom line business. i think that's the right way to think about it. we have a social mission which is important to the world at the same time as we have a profit mission. but the idea that we're going to, you know, find some business model which is going to return us to the point of prosperity that was the case 20 or 30 years ago in this industry, i think, is wishful thinking. on advertising, just to say a word about that too, i think that the advertising market is still very slowly changing and shifting. and it's a challenge for us, a challenge for everyone else that, um, i think is in our field. one of my -- the things that i'm focused on the most is trying to help advertisers focus on real, valuable metricses and not just
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sort of the top-line superficial ones that i think most people ask about. things like page views or even unique visitors don't necessarily tell you anything about how the level of engagement or how good a digital or web product is at retention. i mean, be you want to boost -- if you want to boost page views or unique users, you can ab test headlines all day long, and you can get lots of people to click on a headline, and they can count as a unique user. but whether or not your journalism is quality or whether or not a person's actually lingering there, interacting with an advertiser's content, none of those questions are asked by these top line metics. -- metrics. so it's, you know, i personally have started to engage with a lot of the advertising community a bit more over the past few months, and it's clear to me that there are a lot of people who are thinking creatively about new solutions here.
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but more often than not, they're custom solutions that are built per brand, per advertiser, and it takes time for them not just for the new republic whether it's the new republic or buzz feed to understand how these different products exist, what the interactions are like and how they can, how they can monetize them and use them to their advantage in a meaningful way. all of these ideas, the last thing i'll say before opening up for questions is one of the key things that we're trying to do at the new republic which i think has very much been in the dna of silicon valley for a very long time but not so much in in the industry is take a highly experimental approach. you know, in silicon valley the expectation for a venture capitalist is she or he will invest in ten different companies and, hopefully, one of them will be a great success, two of them will be okay, and it's more likely than not that
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seven of them will fail. but that's okay. for us we're trying lots of different ideas, and i don't expect any one of these things from a technological perspective or even from a business perspective to be some silver bullet or for us to discover, you know, the cure to all of our ills. but what i do know is that we have to create a culture inside of our company, and i think this is the same thing for giants like "the new york times" or, um, or small, emerging blogs. you have to create a culture where there's a high amount of experimentation, where we're really honest about what's working and what's not working thus far. and where we continue to experiment with new ideas to see what works and see what doesn't. it's, um, it's clear to me that that's not something that's necessarily been part of the dna or part of the culture of the world of journalism for a long time, but i think there are a
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lot of brands and a lot of people out there that are trying to do that increasingly so, and i think as long as that continues to be the case, it gives, it gives me a lot of optimism about not only the state of what we're doing, but the state of the industry in the future. >> great. chris, i'd like to -- and i'll have a conversation for just a few minutes, and then we'll open it up to you. on the business side first, one of the things that people find unpleasant in buying enterprises that are losing money is continuing to lose money. [laughter] are you, do you have a tolerance for, basically, funding losses for a while? i mean, this is, this is -- you have gotten -- you've spent money. >> what's the definition of a while? [laughter] >> well, i mean, have you thought about that, or are you just sort of going to let that take care of itself? or is it something you've actually given thought to? >> no. i mean, i spend the majority of my time on the business. and on, um --
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>> you want it to be profitable, but does it have to be profitable? >> i think it should be profitable, and i think it's our challenge to prove to ourselves and to the world that we can find a profitable model. and when i say "profitable," i'm not, you know, i'm not saying that, you know, we're going to be making a lot of money hand over fist. clearly, i'm in this for -- well, i don't know if it's clear or not, i'm in this for the journalism, not the make a lot of must be for myself -- money for myself. so profitability is, to me, synonymous with sustainability. once we get the company to a point where the journalism, there's enough of a market who wants and who demands our products and is willing to pay for it, then the company can go much longer, can outlast me for a long time. the question is how long is it going to take us to get there, and i think that, excuse me, there's no way that we could get there without serious investment. so that means losses this year, it probably means losses next year. but into 2015 and moving
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forward, i do think that we can get to sustainability, if not profitability. >> it's more of a macabre version of pleasure. if you recall your dickens, macabre's idea of heaven was $1 more or one pound more than he spent. >> right. right. [laughter] and hell was the other. but, i mean, the point is that, essentially, says sustainability is more of a break even than -- i mean, that's a different standard and one that will not be as hard. because in the business of journalism, the business of journalism, the standard for profitability is significantly more than that in many, many, many places including, you know, at local newspapers and things like that. that's going to be easier. and that's good as far as those of us who care about the journalism is concerned. i want to talk to you about the journalism now if i may for a moment. what kind of a journalistic enterprise do you want the new republic to be? do you want it to be a place
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where the reporting is considered to be very strong, where the analysis and the opinion writing is very strong? i mean, how do you sort of weigh those, and how do you imagine the mix at the new republic of that kind of thing? >> right. yeah. i mean, historically the new republic had a lot of opinion journalism. and if you think, i mean, if you think before the internet in particular, the role of opinion journalism was incredibly important. if you were someone who was trying to shape public policy debate or even if you were just trying to get your own opinion out there so it was part of the mix and the conversation in washington or new york or hollywood, whatever field you were in, you had to go to a few, a handful of print publications and have it be included in those pages. i mean, it sounds like a cliche, but i think it's worthwhile to remember because it is so different than the model and the universe that we live in now. not only could you go -- if you
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have an opinion, you could go blog about it, but whether you have your own blog, somebody else would be happy, will be happy to post it for you, but you can also go to twitter, you have all of these outlets for people to share their opinions now. so there's plenty of opinion. the shift that we're trying to make from an editorial perspective is we're going to continue to do some opinion journalism so we can be part of the debate. but where i think that the market demand is and what people really want is the type of journalism that is more reported, that is more contextual, that is sort of deeper journalism that is surfacing new points or exposing new ideas than it is necessarily just sharing another sort of opinion about what's happening in the world. that's where i think the hole is in the marketplace. >> one of the things that i've read in preparing to have this
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conversation with you about your experience as the new editor-in-chief at the new republic is that you stopped a magazine cover because you found it to be -- i mean, i don't think that's a small thing. i'd really like to know how your thinking was and how you -- what was at stake as far as you were concerned? what were you trying to do? >> that was an easy one. we don't call people names. that's, you know, i think we can have intelligent debate about a lot of different topics, and we can call people out. but calling people out is calling different than calling people names. so some of the cover lines -- i bought the magazine on a thursday, and this was like the next week. it was literally -- i didn't even know where the printer was, let alone how the logistics around it were happening. so it sounds quite -- it sounds quite dramatic. it was actually more like i got sent the cover, and i was like we need to change that word. by that point it was, apparently, already at the press which i didn't know -- >> and somebody said do you realize it's going to cost you x in order to do this, i would
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imagine. >> well, fortunately or unfortunately because the new republic's circulation network is not as large as some of the others -- [laughter] the cost was not, wasn't significant at all. so, but it is, but i think -- >> well, tell them what the issue was. >> because it is, i think it's important to -- there's lots of places on the internet where, you know, you can call people names. there's not that many places on the internet where you can call people out in a substantive, thoughtful way. of course, people do it, but i think that from a brand perspective, we have to do reported journalism, and we have to do the type of opinion journalism that's well documented, that's careful and that's well thought out. and if you put a word in a headline that calls somebody a nut or a baby or whatever that seems like a small thing, you immediately turn them off. and if you're trying to get the other side to listen or if
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you're trying trying to actualle in a debate, you know, the first thing that you maybe should not do is call them a name. [laughter] so, um, i mean, if there is some difference there historically, then it's one that, you know, i mean, i think it's an important point to articulate. >> the thing that's really interesting is as i recall the headline referred to wall street guys as cry babies, was that the -- >> uh-huh. >> and you found that -- you changed it. what did they change it to, by the way? >> i don't even remember. >> whiners? [laughter] >> i honestly don't remember. i mean, it was clear -- the point of the story was it was a great piece. one of our reporters, alec mcgillis, wrote a piece on why so many people on wall street were so upset about the administration and a lot of the policies of barack obama. because you could argue that, you know, the administration was much more sensitive to ll

U.S. Senate
CSPAN February 19, 2013 12:00pm-5:00pm EST


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